Johannes Meintjes

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(1923–1980) Painter, broadcaster, historian, diarist, author, costume- and set designer, and playwright. Born at Grootzeekoegat near Molteno in the Eastern Cape, went to school at the Hoër Jongenskool in Riversdal and Hoërskool Jan van Riebeeck in Cape Town. From his youth he was interested in painting and devloped his skills. Completed a BA in languages at the University of Cape Town. For a while he taught art at Hoërskool Jan van Riebeeck and SACS. Spent 1946-1947 in London, studying at the Central School of Arts and working part time as broadcaster for the BBC. In 1947 he returned to Cape Town and worked at painting, broadcasting and writing. Also taught at the Worcester Dramaskool, and lectured on art at the Cape Technical College and on costume design for the Aeonian (Eoan?) ballet group. His designs of ballet costumes were exhibnited in America and are today part of the New York Public Library's collection. In 1949 he moved back to Molteno to become curator of the local museum and to paint and write till his death in 1980.

Besides his enormous influence as an avant garde painter, he was a most proligfic writer, and produced numerous biographies, histories, poems and novels, published his diaries. At the time of his death, Meintjes had painted more than 1 336 oil paintings, produced dozens of sculptor pieces as well as hundreds of sketches, temperas, graphic works and watercolours. Several published books (35) and even many more unpublished manuscripts

He also wrote two plays. Die Blanke Stilte ’n toneelstuk in drie bedrywe ("The white silnce. A play in three acts"). It was one of the winning plays in a competition run by the National Advisory Council for Higher Education in 1952, as part of the 300-year Van Riebeeck-celebrations. His second drama was Die Soekendes ("The seekers"), also entered for a competition by Afrikaanse Persboekhandel in 1958. It did not win, but was published by Afrikaanse Persboekhandel in 1958, and first performed in 1960.


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