South African Film and Theatre Union

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In 1957 the South African Actors' Equity (Afrikaans: Suid-Afrikaanse Akteursekwiteitsvereniging) was created, with Hugh Rouse as its chairman.

In 1969 the name was changed to the South African Theatre Union (SATU - Afrikaans: Suid-Afrikaanse Teaterunie) and in 1982 it became the South African Film and Theatre Union (SAFTU - Afrikaans: Suid-Afrikaanse Film-en Teaterunie) to include film activities.

In 1985 SAFTU was the only trade union for performing artists and supported artists by protecting their position and status in their profession, solving work related problems and supplying performing artists with lawyers when necessary. Among the long time chairpersons were actor Carel Trichardt and *** . In the annual meeting, communal matters are discussed and the council elects eleven members for the upcoming years council. Representative committees are also elected for each province to handle local matters. This council communicates to its members through newsletters. SAFTU creates a standard agreement with South African Association of Theatre Managements (SAATM) and because of the industry’s constantly changing nature it is revised when necessary. The radio, television and advertising industry also complies with standards SAFTU creates in agreements with them. By the mid 1980s the perceived largely white orientation and membership of the union was becoming problematic and an alternative union (**?) was founded.


In 19**, after long and hard bargaining, SAFTU was amalgamated with the *** and a far more encompassing Performing Arts Workers' Equity (PAWE) was founded.

SAFTU Projects

The Theatre Benevolent Fund

See The Theatre Benevolent Fund

Theatre Residential Clubs

See the Theatre Residential Clubs


Carel Trichardt, in Temple Hauptfleisch, 1985 ; Mike van Graan and Tammy Ballantyne, 2002;

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