William Coetzee

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There are two people by this name, both circus performers.

It is not always certain which of them did what over the years, since a British Pathé film showing The Human Ostrich at a sideshow in Durban, for example, dates from 1940, which means it could be either one.

William Coetzee Snr

(19**-1954) A circus performer in South Africa

Husband of Hester C. Coetzee, they had five children Andre (Coetzee) Baenhoff, William Coetzee Jr, Johanna P. (Coetzee) Gould, Dolly J. (Coetzee) Netto and Dawn P. (Coetzee) Struwig.

He worked as lion tamer and ringmaster, inter alia for Pagel's Circus in South Africa, and died tragically on July 4, 1954 in Durban during a live performance in Durban in 1954, when his lions attacked and mauled him.

William Coetzee Jnr

(19*-1994) A circus performer in South Africa.

Also known as Willie Coetzee, he was the son of the lion tamer William Coetzee, and he worked in various capacities in circuses and fun fairs for a number of years. According to his niece, his stage names where The Human Ostrich, Prince Ben Alli Kassiem, Don Montenegro and Willie the Clown.

He later lived in lived in Rustenburg, Transvaal, where he worked for the Coca Cola company.


Private correspondence from Roslyn Lord, granddaughter and niece of the performers (2015-03-08)

Townsville Daily Bulletin Monday 5 July 1954, from Trove Digitised Newspapers [1]

The Billboard, p.52[2]



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