Al Debbo

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Al Debbo (1924-2011) Afrikaans comedian, singer and film actor. One of the most famous artists of his generation, one who made an enormous contribution to Afrikaans music and culture.


Born in Bloemfontein, of immigrant Lebanese parents. His parents owned a grocery store and he originally trained as a plumber after matriculating.

Singer and entertainer

In school concerts he had displayed a knack for making people laugh, and singing and comedy remained his hobbies after school, as he performed at functions and weddings.

During WWII he thus became a full-time entertainer, doing a magician and ventriloquist act under the auspices of the Red Cross, then - on his return he continued his part-time career as a singer-entertainer. However, in 1947 he participated in a countrywide talent competition, associated with the South African Industries Fair, and won. He now became a nationally recognized entertainer and singer and a household name with his recordings of comic songs such as Sonbrilletjies, Hasie, Tantes van Nantes, Brakke van Turffontein and Bolandse nooientjie.

Film comedian

The competition also led to his first (very brief) film role in Die kaskenades van Dokter Kwak (Pierre de Wet, 1948). In later films (between 1947 and 1959) he was often partnered with actor-comedian Frederick Burgers, with whom he also did numerous stage shows - the pair were often billed as "the South African Laurel and Hardy".

Film Credits

Die Kaskenades van Dokter Kwak (1948); Kom Saam, Vanaand (1949); Hier’s Ons Weer (1950) ; Alles Sal Regkom (1951); Altyd in My Drome (1952); Die Avonture van Kammie Kamfer (1954); Dis Lekker om te Lewe (1957); Donker Afrika (1957); Fratse in die Vloot (1958); Hou die Blink Kant Bo (1960); Boerboel de Wet (1960); Gevaarlike Spel (1962); Tom, Dirk en Herrie (1962); Die Geheim van Onderplaas (1962); Die Wonderwêreld van Kammie Kamfer (1964); Stadig oor die Klippe (1969); Pens en Pootjies (1974); Kniediep (1975); Haak Vrystaat (1976); and Oh Shucks I’m Gatvol (2004). Piet se Tante


Van Delen 1991.

Rapport Gauteng, 30 Julie 2000.

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