Carel Trichardt

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Carel Trichardt (1939-) is a renowned and loved Afrikaans actor (stage, film and TV), director, drama lecturer and activist for performers’ rights. (Karel Trichardt is sometimes given as an alternative name)


Born and had his primary schooling in Linden, Johannesburg, then the family moved to Rustenberg where he began participating in eistedfodd and other events, and went on to take elocution lessons. They moved to Pretoria in 1955, where he finished high school Afrikaans Seuns Hoër, and went to the University of Natal Drama Department, Durban, where he met Petru Wessels, who was to become his wife in 1966. They have three children.

His contribution to South African Theatre, film, media and performance.

As actor

For the stage

In 1963 he was one of the first four people appointed to the Natal Performing Arts Council (NAPAC), and the only actor.

Joined he joined the PACT Youth Company in 1965, later moving on to the main company.

Among Trichardt's most memorable stage performances are …. ???****, "Oubaas Menge" in P.G. du Plessis’s award-winning Die Nag van Legio (1969), *** in Athol Fugard’s Dimetos (197* at The Space) **** He played Shylock in an Afrikaans translation of The Merchant of Venice, directed by Anna Neethling-Pohl, for TRUK in 1969. He starred in Die Kersietuin (Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard) directed by Robert Mohr, with David van der Merwe, Rika Sennett and Wilna Snyman for PACT in 1979.

Besides the formal roles, Carel and Petru Wessels travelled the country over the years, presenting various verse and prose programmes, e.g. Kersklanke ("Christmas Sounds") (a word and music programme which they have done for 21 years); Woordbeelde ("Word Images"), Storie-Uur met Carel Trichardt en Petru Wessels ("Story hour with Carel Trichardt and Petru Wessels"), etc.

In TV-series

Dit Wat Stom Is (2005); Rhodes (1996 - as Paul Kruger), Pour tout l'or du Transvaal (1979); Les diamants du président (1977); Vyfster (1984),; Härte 10 (1975); Diamantendetektiv Dick Donald (1971);

He also did the voice of "Knersis" in the hugely popular children's show on SABC TV.


Uitvlucht (2016); Verraaiers (2013); Skin (2008); Catch a Fire (2006); Oh Schuks ... I'm Gatvol! (2004); Friends, 1993; The Fourth Reich (1990), Hellgate (1990), Liewe Hemel, Genis! (1987); Rienie (1980); Flatfoot in Africa (1978); Die Afspraak (1974); Insident op Paradysstrand (1973); Die Voortrekkers (1973); Pressure Burst (1971); Stop Exchange (1970), Katrina (1969); Kruger Miljoene (1967), Kavaliers (1966).

For radio

Eugene Marais – ‘n hoorbeeld

As director

As lecturer

In 1966 appointed lecturer in acting and film studies in the Drama Department, University of Pretoria, later senior lecturer and head of the department, a position he held till his retirement in 2003?.

As activist

A strong campaigner of actors' rights he was inter alia an active member and later chairman of the South African Film and Theatre Union (SAFTU), as well as chairman of the Theatre Benevolent Fund (TBF) for a number of years. His other passion is the cause of the Afrikaans language in professional theatre, serving on numerous advisory committees and organisations.

As theatre manager

In 1995 he and his wife, actress Petru Wessels, opened a small venue called Die Teaterhuisie in Moerdyk Street, Pretoria, close by the Breytenbach Theatre, to perform Afrikaans works.


In 2011 he received the Erepenning vir Toneel- en Verhoogkuns as well as the Gerhard Beukesprys from the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns.


Personal communication from Carel Trichardt. (3 April 2016)

Percy Tucker, 1997

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