J.J. de Kock

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Mr J.J. de Kock (circa 1801? - 1872??) was an amateur song writer and compiler, dancer and actor, theatre administrator, publisher of an Almanac and sworn court translator.


Born Johannes Jacobus de Kock in Cape Town, he studied at the school Tot Nut van 't Algemeen ("Of use to all") , and became a local actor, author and businessman - compiler of an Almanac ("De Zuid-Afrikaansche blygeestige Almanak en Naamlyst voor het jaar onzes Heeren" ) and a "general agent and sworn translator" of the High Court.

He is one of a number of persons named De Kock active in theatre between 1825 and 1837. However, besides the individuals listed as A. de Kock and K. de Kock, it is unclear from Bosman whether the individuals referred to variously as J.J. de Kock, J. de Kock or J. de Kock C. zoon by F.C.L. Bosman (1928: p. 231) are all the same person, as suggests, or are possibly only relations. However, it does seem likely that these were all merely variations of his name.

Besides his theatrical work he was also the compiler of collections of "geselskaps liedere" (lit. "conversational songs", or party songs), among which the collection Nieuwe Hollandsche Gezelschapsliederen (1852).

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

As a manager

He was a strong supporter of C.E. Boniface in the 1830s, was most probably a member of the amateur society Honi Soit qui Mal y Pense in Cape Town, and definitely named as the secretary of the amateur company Vlyt en Kunst in the period 1834 till 1838 (sometimes credited as J.J. de Kock, sometimes as J. de Kock or as "J.J. de Kock Cz"). By 1837/8 he seemed to be in control of the company, or a segment of it. On occasion he also sold the tickets at his offices at 20 Wale Street for performances, e.g. for a presentation of A Fantasmagorie (M. Decanis).

On 10 September 1836 Vlyt en Kunst did a production of Montoni, of Het kasteel van Udolpho (Duval/Radcliffe, tr Bruggemans) followed by Nognetzoo (Boniface), as a benefit performance for De Kock, to cover the costs incurred in a court case he had lost against J. Suasso de Lima - the sworn enemy of his mentor and colleague Boniface.

A few years later, in he himself became the butt of Boniface's ire and satire in the play Kockincoz, or The Pettifogging Lawyer's Plot.

As an performer

He played many roles under the various names, including:

As J. de Kock: Performed for the Dutch amateur company Honi Soit qui Mal y Pense, listed as one of the "snydersjongens" and a "Dansende Turk" in De Burger Edelman (1825), C.E. Boniface's translation of Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (Molière).

As J. de Kock, C. zoon: Played "Leonora" in Clasius, of Het Proces om een Komedielootjie , performed by Vlyt en Kunst in the African Theatre on 19 July 1834;

As J.J. de Kock: Performed "certain amusements" undertaken as part of an evening's entertainment, following on a presentation of a Fantasmagorie by M. Decanis billed as being "from the Theatre Royal, Paris", on 7 March, 1837 in Cape Town.

As director:

He also directed the occasional play for Vlyt en Kunst, including Montoni, of Het kasteel van Udolpho (Duval/Radcliffe, tr Bruggemans) in the Liefhebbery Toneel on 9 September, 1838.


F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [1]: pp. 231, 282, 322. 328, 330, 335-342, 372-3, 383-7, 495.

Elizabeth Conradie, 1934. Hollandse skrywers uit Suid-Afrika. Deel 1 (1652-1875). J.H. de Bussy, Pretoria / H.A.U.M., Kaapstad 1934:p.272[2]

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