Percy Mtwa

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Percy Mtwa (1953-) is an actor, director and playwright.


Mtwa was born and grew up in Wattville, Benoni. He did well at school, with an aptitude for classical novels, poetry and the visual arts, but at the age of 17, he was forced to leave school to find a job as a stores clerk so that he could help his father – a tailor and clothing designer – to support his family.

He initially made a name for himself as a singer and dancer, founding his own group, Percy and the Maestros. Then he acted in Destiny Calls (1973) a play written by a childhood friend and journalist, Gilroy Dlukula.

His contribution to South African theatre

In 1979 he joined Gibson Kente’s company as actor, with a role as singer/dancer in Mama and the Load, which toured South Africa, playing most townships and later also at the Market Theatre and the Baxter Theatre.

In May 1980 he and co-actor Mbongeni Ngema broke away to found the company Earth Players. Their first production was Woza Albert!, which they devised in 1981 and showed to the Market Theatre. There Barney Simon joined them as director and the company then took it on tour over a number of years. In 1982 he and Mbongeni Ngema appeared as actors and interviewees in an episode of the BBC series Everyman devoted to Woza Albert! (1 episode, 1982).

Mtwa then wrote and directed Bopha! as a Market Theatre and Earth Players collaboration (The Laager, 1985-1986) and became a resident director at the Market Theatre.***

In 1986 a TV documentary was made of Bopha!, narrated by Sidney Poitier, and in 1993 a film version was produced by Arsenio Hall Communications, with a screenplay by Brian Bird and John Wierick, directed by Morgan Freeman, and starring inter alia Danny Glover, Malcolm McDonald , Marius Weyers and Sello Maake ka Ncube.

Other plays by Mtwa are The African Dream (1998) and The Patriot (2001)


Sam Mathe. 2016-02-12. Stage veteran reflects on his most lauded play, Chillout in African Independent[1] 2016-02-12T00:00 By:

Tucker, 1997

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