Die Hanekom Geselskap

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Die Hanekom Geselskap (“The Hanekom Company”) is one of a number of names under which the various Afrikaans companies founded by or involving Hendrik Hanekom (1893-1952) and Mathilde Hanekom (1896-1976) were known.

Other names include Die Afrikaanse Toneelgeselskap ("The Afrikaans Theatre Company", 1925-6; 1928-1930) (or Die Afrikaanse Toneelspelers, i.e. "The Afrikaans Players"), and Die Hanekoms se Geselskap ("The Hanekoms' Company").

Die Afrikaanse Toneelgeselskap ("The Afrikaans Theatre Company")

This was one of the two first companies of Afrikaans professional players to be founded in South Africa. First founded as Die Afrikaanse Toneelgeselskap ("The Afrikaans Theatre Company") or Die Afrikaanse Toneelspelers ("The Afrikaans Players"), it existed for two periods - 1925-6; 1928-1930.

Founded in 1925

Reconstituted in 1928 by Hendrik Hanekom, with Mathilde Hanekom,Wena Naudé, Willem van Zyl, Leon Hofmeyr and Stephan Borcherds. They managed to get the rights to Oorskotjie (Scampolo by Dario Niccodemi) from African Theatres and toured the play - with Wena Naudé in the lead - throughout the country, to the smallest towns from April till November 1928. In 1929 they did Onskuldig Veroordeel (lit "Innocently Sentenced"), said to be by one "Bayard Veiller", which was also a great box-office success. In May 1929 Siegfried Mynhardt joined the company for the tour and in 1930 James Norval. In 1930 followed Die Uur van Vergelding (1930).

In 1931 the company changed its name to the Hanekom-Van Zyl Geselskap, with Wena Naudé and her husband Willem van Zyl as partners

Die Hanekoms se Geselskap

After spending 1932-4 in Bloemfontein, running a drama school and performing locally with their students, the Hanekom family started a new venture, now called Die Hanekom Geselskap ("The Hanekom Company"), or Die Hanekoms se Geselskap ("The Hanekoms' Company"), to go on tour with D.C. Postma's Oom Paul till mid 1938. The performances were alternated with lighter fare (usually German farces or comedies in Afrikaans). The company started out in partnership with Elsa Fouché and Willie Beckmann, but after a few performances Fouche and Beckmann married and began their own company, to be replaced by Berdine Grünewald and Jaques Lochner. However, the Hanekom company was relatively stable and boasted a number of other loyal and competent players, such as Irma du Plessis and Tonius Ferreira.

It would be active from 1935 till the beginnings of the National Theatre Organisation (NTO) in 1948, making a final appearance in 1951 with En Waar Was Jy Gisteraand?.

They also had a youth company, called Die Hanekoms se Jongspan ("The Hanekoms' young people or young team"), which did Stiefkind van die Skepper in 1947 and Trou is nie Perdekoop in 1948.


Ludwig Wilhelm Berthold Binge. 1969. Ontwikkeling van die Afrikaanse toneel (1832-1950). Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 143, 150, 174-6, 195.

Anna Minnaar-Vos 1969. Die Spel Gaan Voort: Die Verhaal van Hendrik en Mathilde Hanekom. Kaapstad: Tafelberg, pp. 96-110.

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