Paul Roubaix

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Paul Roubaix (1920-) Pseudonym of Isaac Pfaff. Teacher, poet, short story writer, playwright and director. ,


Born in Cape Town. He became a teacher. He began acting as schoolboy, and later started writing poems, short stories and plays in Afrikaans while at University during the war years.



He studied Afrikaans/Dutch and English at the University of Cape Town.


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

He was a member of the Peninsula Dramatic Society and had a role in You Can't Take it With You in 1943.

In 1946 Storm, an Afrikaans one-act play, won the FATSSA playwriting competition[??**] and was published in Storm en Ander Eenbedrywe (“Storm and Other One-act Plays”) by Gerhard J. Beukes. Beukes was to publish two more of his plays in his popular anthologies: Die Bitter Pad (“Bitter Road”) in Nuwe Eenbedrywe (“New One-act Plays”, 1952) and O, Uur van Glorie (“Hour of Glory”) in Vyf Eenbedrywe, (“** One Act Plays”, 1957). These were prescribed books in schools across the country for many years.

In 1950 he joined/founded[?*] the Trafalgar Players, with which he produced his own plays in Afrikaans and English. These include Here Endeth the First Lesson and Though I Speak (double-bill, Woodstock Town Hall, 1950), Die Bitter Pad/Bitter Road (Maitland Town Hall, 1954), O, Uur van Glorie?*] Hour of Glory (best play at the Scopus Club Drama Festival, 1956, ) and The Yearning of my Heart [ Die Verlangende Hart?*] (a playreading, Little Theatre, Cape Town 1958).

He also wrote the play Sonder Bloeisels.

In 1960*? He emigrated to Canada, where he obtained an MA in English from York University and a degree in Education from the University of Toronto, and taught languages, world politics, history and theatre arts. He also continued directing his plays with young people in Toronto, for example in 1966 he did Hour of Glory with the Oakwood Masquers and Bitter Road with the Theatre Arts Students of Bickford Park Summer School.

A collection of his plays in English translation were published by Roubaix in a collection called A Time for Compassion. Biko’s World in Six Plays in 1978 (Toronto, Culturama Incorporated), with an introduction by Frank Birbalsingh.

Awards, etc

O, Uur van Glorie (Hour of Glory) (best play at the Scopus Club Drama Festival, 1956.


Twee vergete Afrikaanse skrywers by Barend Toerien published in Vrye Weekblad, 30 March 1990.

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