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Germanicus is an Afrikaans verse play by N.P. van Wyk Louw (1906-1970). Based on Tacitus's Annales 3: 1-3, the play is set in Roman times and deals with patriotism and loyal rebellion, through the story of a young hero, the Roman general Germanicus.

First published as fragments in Standpunte (Vol 1, nr. 2, April 1946 and Vol 6, nr. 2, Desember 1951); first published in full by Tafelberg Publishers, in 1956 and many times since. A standard prescribed work for schools and universities. Awarded the Hertzog Prize for Drama, 1960.

Performance history in South Africa

1956: First performed as a radio broadcast by the SABC.

1957: First performed (opening 14 June) as a stage play by NTO (in co-operation with BAT) as opening production for the new Bellville Civic Theatre, under the direction of Anna Neethling-Pohl, with Johann Nell as Germanicus and Lydia Lindeque as Agrippina. Gerrit Wessels, Anna Neethling-Pohl, Kobus van der Colff, Pietro Nolte, Johan Malherbe, Hélène Scholtz, Pieter Bredenkamp, Ulrich Fobian, J.A. van der Vyver, Gottfried Scholtz, Cornelia Stander, Alto Loots, Laurie van der Merwe, Louis Pienaar, Fanie Bekker made up the rest of the cast. Costumes by Doreen Graves and Stephan de Villiers, décor by Frank Graves.

1958: Tone Brulin directed another NTO production, as opening production for the new theatre at the University of Pretoria in 1958. Francois Swart played Germanicus and Milla Louw Agrippina. The cast also included Pieter Geldenhuys, Aletta Gericke, Pietro Nolte, Dawid van der Walt, Bet Botha, Billy Pretorius and others. Michal Grobbelaar was the production manager, Laurie van der Merwe assistant director and Piet Bezuidenhout stage manager. Décor by Frank Graves. The costumes designed for the 1957 production in Bellville were used again.

1971: Directed by Ria Olivier for Universiteitsteater Stellenbosch in 1971, with Philip du Plessis as Germanicus, Fred Nel as Piso, the role of Agrippina alternating between Tarina Kleyn and Marianne Roux. Other members of the cast were, among others, Juanita Swanepoel, Fred le Roux, Johann van Heerden, Herman Pretorius, Laurika Rauch, Ben Dehaeck, Jocelyn de Bruyn and Marcel van Heerden.

1981: Presented by PACT as part of the opening ceremonies for the State Theatre in Pretoria, directed by Francois Swart and featuring Marius Weyers (Germanicus), Etienne Puren (Lucius), Sandra Prinsloo (Agrippina), Anna Neethling-Pohl (Livia), Louis van Niekerk (Piso), Petro van der Walt (Marcia), Jacques Loots (Dokter), Alwyn Swart (Sekretaris), Fred Steyn (Marius), Eric Nobbs (Marcus), Don Lamprecht (Caius), Carel Trichardt (Segestes), Wilna Snyman (Thusnelda), Rika Sennett (Plancina), Louw Verwey (Tiberius), Pierre van Pletzen (Clemens), Franz Marx (Koning Aretas) and others. Decor and costumes by Chris van den Berg.

1991: Presented by the University of Stellenbosch Drama Department in September 1991, in celebration of the H.B. Thom Theatre's 25 anniversary. Directed by Johan Esterhuizen, starring Waldemar Schultz as Germanicus, André van der Merwe as Piso and Sandra Fourie as Agrippina. Costumes were designed by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder.

Translations and adaptations

An English translation of the Afrikaans text was done by Jo-Marie Claassen between 2004 and 2006, and published as an e-book by Smashwords[1] in 2014.


Taalgenoot, 26(11), 1957.

Lantern, 8(2):183, 1958.

PACT theatre programme, 1981.

Germanicus theatre programmes, 1957 and 1991.

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

Johann Lodewyk Marais, 2010. "Geskiedenis en literatuur in N.P. van Wyk Louw se Germanicus" (1956) in Stilet — Vol. XXI:1 — March 2010

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