Alewyn Lee

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Alewyn Lee (1926 (?)-1993) was an actor, radio and TV announcer, linguist, translator and head language advisor to the SABC.


Lee completed a BA degree in English and Afrikaans at the University of Pretoria and joined the SABC as announcer and language editor in 1949, ultimately becoming the head language advisor to the SABC. His insistence on maintaining language standards in the SABC would become the stuff of legend in the industry. He worked for them there till his retirement.

Among his other, more publicly notable, contributions to radio and TV were his role as presenter of the perennially popular literary programme Skrywers en boeke, a discussion of writers and books, and his participation in the TV quiz show Dis my geheim ("This is my secret").

He also published numerous works on language and language issues, and had occasional stints as actor for stage, radio and film.

He was elected a lifetime member of the Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurvereniginge (FAK).


For stage

For radio

For TV


For film

Had roles in the following films: Staal Burger (1969), Breekpunt ("Chemist", 1971); Ma Skryf Matriek (1975); Die Rebel ("Dr. Smit" , 1976).


As a translator, he exerted a significant impact on radio drama, TV drama and theatre over the years, notably through his translations of works by various international playwrights, texts used for radio and stage production.

He (co-)translated and adapted numerous plays into Afrikaans from seven languages, among them:

Il Paese delle Vacanze by Ugo Betti (1937), translated as Skrikkeljaar (1959)

Fuente Ovejuna by Lope de Vega, translated as Skaapfontein ("Sheep Fountain") (1963)

Mariken van Nieumeghen, translated into Afrikaans as Marietjie van Nijmegen (1963)

Elweheuwel by Johan Ludvig Heiberg, translated and adapted for radio with Neil Pascoe (1953)

La regina e gli insorti by Ugo Betti. Translated into Afrikaans as Die Koningin en die Rebelle (1969)

Delitto all'isola delle capre (see Crime on Goat Island) by Ugo Betti. Translated into Afrikaans as Misdaad op Bokeiland ("Crime on Goat Island") (1969)

The Death of Ivan Ilyich (Russian: Смерть Ивана Ильича, Smert' Ivana Ilyicha)by Leo Tolstoy, translated as Die dood van Iwan Iljitsj (1960).

La ciociara, a novel by Alberto Moravia (1957), (Two Women in English) translated as Twee vroue (1965).

Ek gaan jou Doodmaak! ("I'm Going to Kill You!") an Afrikaans one-act text credited to Alewyn Lee (1926 (?)-1993) and said to be a translation of an unnamed Spanish work by the Spanish writer Joaquin Amichatis[1]. (Possibly for radio or TV.)

He was particularly celebrated for his translations of Chekhov, in 1980 receiving an Artes Award for them. They include Die seemeeu (The Seagull), Die Kersieboord (The Cherry Orchard), Drie susters (Three Sisters), Oom Wanja, Die buffel (lit. "The buffalo", i.e. The Bear), Die huweliksaansoek (The Proposal) (with C. Benade and Nerina Ferreira) and Die groot vraag.

In 1980 his celebrated collection Die Buffel e.a. Eenakters ("The Buffalo and other one act plays") by Anton Chekhov appeared, containing Langs die grootpad, Die Buffel, Die Groot vraag and Jubileum, published by Tafelberg Publishers Ltd. He received an Artes Award for this publication and his other translations of Chekhov.


Die Burger Vrydag, 26 Februarie 1993 bls [2]

Beeld, Vrydag, 26 Februarie 1993 bls 2[3]

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