Harry Kalmer

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Harry Kalmer (1956-2019) was a copywriter and author of short stories, novels and plays.


He was born on 21 November 1956 and grew up and lived in Johannesburg. He graduated in 1979 (University of Pretoria), majoring in Afrikaans and Drama Studies. He initially worked for the South African Railways in its Language Bureau for five years berfore becoming a copywriter and author.

He was married to Sanpat and they have two children, and died on 26 July 2019 after a short illness.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

He wrote his first play in 1973.

Jacqui Singer produced his play Bloed in die Strate for PACT in 1984, starring Andrew Buckland, Gys de Villiers, Ilse van Hemert and Kevin Smith. It was performed in the Market Theatre in 1985.

The drama Hardland was performed in the Baxter Theatre in 1986, directed by Marcel van Heerden.

Die Wit van Hulle Oë (1988) and Antjie Somers and I (1989) were produced by PACT, both directed by Jacqui Singer, followed by Watercolour Days in 1991.

They Say Heaven is like TV was directed by Craig Freimond for PACT, winning the Vita Potpourri Prize in 1992.

He wrote and directed the cabaret The Secret of my Excess for Lynn Joffe in 1992.

In 1995 Frida Kahlo's Eyes was directed by Sandra Prinsloo and the following year Gerrit Schoonhoven directed Sleeping with Alice for the Arts Festivals. The play was also performed in Afrikaans as Toe Ons by Alice Geslaap het at the KKNK festival in 1996.

Kalmer adapted Marita van der Vyver's novel Die Dinge van 'n Kind for the stage and it was performed with great acclaim in 1998 at the KKNK, the Grahamstown Festival and in the Little Theatre, Pretoria.

The Bitterbek Blues of Ben (die Breker) Bartman and Briewe aan 'n Rooi Dak were performed at the Aardklop festival, 2001.

He wrote Wie is Spek Harmse en waarom skryf hy Afrikaanse advertensies? in 2004 for the occasion of the tenth birthday of the Pendoring competition.

The solo piece Meneer de Beer was performed in 2006, starring Frank Opperman.

He wrote The Bram Fischer Waltz in 2013.


He won the Anglo Gold prize for his play Briewe aan 'n Rooi Dak.

He won a DALRO award for Antjie Somers and I.

He was awarded a silver Ovation Prize at the 2013 Grahamstown Festival for his play The Bram Fischer Waltz.

They Say Heaven is like TV was directed by Craig Freimond for PACT, winning the Vita Potpourri Prize in 1992.


Litnet http://www.argief.litnet.co.za/cgi-bin/giga.cgi?cmd=cause_dir_news_item&news_id=34114&cause_id=1270).


KKNK programme, 29 March-6 April 2013

Krit, 2 April 1996.

Various entries in the NELM catalogue.


Interview, Volksblad 4 February 2008

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