William Branford

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William Richard Grenville (Bill). (1927-) Literary scholar, linguist, poet, actor, director and playwright.


Born in Southampton in 1927, Branford came to South Africa as a child, went to school at St Andrew's College in Grahamstown. Married to linguist Jean Branford, first editor of the Dictionary of South African English.

Academic career

Studied at the Universities of Cambridge, Cape Town and Natal. Branford lectured at various South African universities, and became founding Professor of the Department of English Language and Linguistics at Rhodes University and Director of the Institute for the Study of English in Africa. Author of a textbook entitled The Elements of English (1967), and a number of other works on the English language and linguistics, as well as two plays.

Work in theatre

In 1954 co-directed (with William Pople) and performed in the first production of H.I.E. Dhlomo’s epic drama Dingane (with his students at the University of Natal Medical School).

He adapted Peter Abrahams's Mine Boy for the stage in 1946 (performed by students at the University of Natal Medical School 1955) and is the author of a play entitled Judgement of the Lion (produced and published in Durban in 1958).


Gosher, 1988

De Beer, 1995

Entry on William Branford in ESAACH[1]

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