Schalk Jacobsz

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Schalk Jacobsz (1936-2016) was an Afrikaans actor and director.


He was born in Cape Town. Went to the University of the Free State to train as an architect, but drawn back into theatre in the late 1960’s. He was married to the actress Elma Potgieter and they had three children. He passed away on 6 June 2016 due to a heart condition.

He made his debut as an actor in 1959 for André Huguenet’s company. As a young man worked for the National Theatre Organisation, i.a. in Nie vir Geleerdes (N.P. van Wyk Louw) 1960, Die Vonkel in haar oë! - 'n Spel van my kontrei (Beukes, 1960). He later joined PACT.

In 1976 he also put in a tender for the old Newtown Market, but did not get the building as his tender for an Afrikaans theatre was seen as to limited. (The building went to The Company, and would become The Market Theatre.)

A strong (though controversial) Afrikaner nationalist, he struggled for years to found a viable professional Afrikaans company in Johannesburg, till he and his wife, Elma Potgieter, eventually began one called Die Bywoners ("The share-croppers") in Johannesburg in 1980, aimed at staging independent, indigenous works in Afrikaans. Between 1981 and 1986 they produced many Afrikaans works, including a number of translated versions of Athol Fugard’s plays.

In the 1980s he became a supporter of, and the very successful speech coach for, the former policeman-playwright and right-wing politician Eugène Terre'Blanche, famous for his rousing and inflamatory oratorical gifts.

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

He appeared in numerous plays over the years, including Anastasia, Boesman en Lena, Die Drie Van Der Walts, Flikkers en Vlooie, Speelgoed van Glas, The Just, Die Selfmoordenaar, Die Vonkel in Haar Oë!, Playing with Fire (Strindberg), Lang Dagreis na die Nag (O'Neill). Perhaps one of his greatest roles was his performance as “Charley” in P.G. du Plessis’s powerful drama Die Nag van Legio (196*). According to the author the role of “Jakes” in Du Plessis’s 1971 hit Siener in die Suburbs was originally written specifically for Jacobsz, but since he was unavailable at the time, that plum role went to Marius Weyers.

Over the years he did a number of Afrikaans versions of Athol Fugard’s plays, including Hallo en Koebaai (Athol Fugard's Hello and Goodbye, directed by Jan Engelen and also starring Elna Potgieter, Upstairs at the Market, 1981); and later Boesman en Lena. Other works include Die Eensame Vlug, Darling Blossom, etc.

He directed many plays, among them PACT's production of Oedipus by Ted Hughes in 1971, Die Belofte by Aleksei Arbuzov (1976), Ampie, Voorlopige Vonnis, Siener in die Suburbs, 'n Boer Sê Totsiens, Die Jaar Toe My Ma Begin Sing Het, Verkiesing sonder politiek!.

He appeared in a number of films as well, among them Die Bankrower, Die Banneling, Fighter Pilots (Wing Commander), **, **. He is credited by IMDb as a translator (alongside Wilma Stockenström) and director of the dubbing text for the Afrikaans version of the film The Guest at Steenkampskraal (1977)

TV roles included Die Siel van die Mier, and the voice of "Knersus" in the children's series Oscar en Knersus.

In 2015 he and his wife performed a radio production of Reis Sonder Einde ("Journey without end", a work by Uys Krige and Federico García Lorca), for the RSG Kunstefees.

Awards, etc

Won the AA Life Vita Award for best supporting actor in Afrikaans for his role in Die Wildsboudjie


Speelgoed van Glas programmme notes, 1967.

Grütter, Wilhelm, CAPAB 25 Years, 1987. Unpublished research. 366)

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