Buster Harrison

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W.P. Harrison (“Buster”). (1900-1932). Theatre lover and organiser, with strong socialist beliefs.


Born and raised in Benoni, he ran away from home at 15, joined the British Army, and later became an officer in the Russian Red Army, worked on a Soviet ice-breaker, joined hunger marches in Germany and in England. On his return he started work at Luipaardvlei mine and became involved in the cultural life of Krugersdorp, striving to promote the study and presentation of contemporary socialist plays.

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

He was the inspiration and driving force behind the founding of the Krugersdorp Dramatic Society on 1 November 1928. At the first meeting on 22 November 1928 however, because clear that members had a wider range of interests, so the name was changed to the Krugersdorp Dramatic and Operatic Club on 7 December 1928 and on 27 July 1931 it gained municipal status and became the Krugersdorp Municipal Dramatic and Operatic Society (KMDOS). Harrison was the first treasurer and stayed on till his tragic death in 1932.

Awards, etc.

In 1933 KMDOS named an annual playwrighting competition for Afrikaans and English one-act plays in his memory (the Buster Harrison Playwriting Competition)


(See Du Toit, 1988; Du Toit ,1985) [TH]

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