M.M. Walters

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M.M. Walters (1929-2020) was an Afrikaans teacher, poet and playwright


Born Mattys Michielse Walters on 23 January 1929 in Moorreesburg, where he initially also went to school. voltooi sy skoolloopbaan aan die Hoër Jongenskool op Wellington in die Western Cape. Thereafter he studied at the Hugenote Universiteitskollege in Wellington before continuing his studies with the correrspndence university Unisa and the University of Cape Town, where he completed an MA degree in 1972.

He began work as a teacher in 1950, inter alia teaching in Natal, Cape Town and Ladismith, before being appointed a lecturer of Afrikaans at the teachers' training college in Graaff-Reinet in 1960, followed by stints at the Paarlse Onderwyskollege (Paarl Teachers' training college, 1967-1971) and the University of Cape Town (1972 till his retirement).

After his retirement he settled in Simonston, where he passed away on 28 July, 2020. He was married and the couple had two children.

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

Walters began his literary career as a poet, his first collection, Cabala (1967), winning a number of national awards. However, a number of commentators have found his strongest contribution to be his theatrical works.

He started off by writing commissioned occasional pieces for specific festive occasions, beginning with a Taalfees ("Language festival") , a piece in which two narrators relate the history and evolution of the Afrikaans language. Commissioned by the Paarlse Opleidingskollege in 1969 as a way of contributing to the building fund for the planned Afrikaanse Taalmonument ("Afrikaans Language Monument"), it was performed by college students in that year. This was followed by other occasional piece for the Paarl branch of the Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurbond, performed at the Paarlse Taalfees(Paarl Language Festival) in 1970, and Die Wingerdstok Sal Rank, a third occasional piece, performed in August at the 1972 Paarlse Taalfees. The latter text was published by Perskor in 1975.

The year 1975 also saw Walters writing his first formal drama, Die Vroue van Kores (The women of Kores"), described as 'n spel oor die lot van mense ("a play about the fate of people"). It was published by Perskor in 1975. His other formal plays include: Miskien Woon Julle Onder Ons (1978), Drakenstein, My Drakenstein! (1982), Oor die Limiete (1987) and Die Meester (2004).

A number of dramatized readings of selections form Walters's writings were also performed by the actor-director Johann Nel (as narrator), directed by Juanita Swanepoel, presented at various festivals and theatres in the country over the years. They include the pieces Praat van die duiwel,Uitverkoop!, Boer Loer and Ha-ha-ha! Afrika!.

In 2015 Walters reworked Praat van die duiwel for a new production at the Woordfees in Stellenbosch.



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