Difference between revisions of "Pieter Fourie"

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Latest revision as of 11:53, 26 January 2022

As in the case of "Johan", Pieter is one of the most commonly found first names in Afrikaans, and Fourie is equally widespread as a surname in South Africa, thus there are a number of individuals involved in theatre known as Pieter Fourie.

Not to be confused with the South African actor Peter Fourie

Pieter Fourie, playwright, director and administrator

Pieter Fourie (1940-2021) was an actor, director, playwright, poet, producer and manager.


Born in Phillipolis in the Orange Free State on 3 April, 1940, grew up in Luckhoff. Left school at 15, to become a postal worker in Bloemfontein and Koffiefontein. Then he returned to school in Phillipolis, before going to the University of Stellenbosch, initially doing Drama, but after an argument with the professor, Fred Engelen, he left to finish with a BA and a BA Honours degree in Afrikaans Literature (1964). A founding member of D.J. Opperman’s literary laboratory, he initially published poetry in Afrikaans journals like Stiebeuel, Standpunte, Sestiger and Tydskrif vir Letterkunde. He was also a radical student leader at the time and a founding member of **.

In 1965 he started his own touring production company, the Pieter Fourie Genootskap, with and in 1966 he joined the CAPAB Drama Company, in 1967 becoming company manager of the Afrikaans Company. He would later be a resident dramatist for CAPAB and PACT, a free-lance writer, owner of a number of guest houses, and the Artistic Director of the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (or KKNK) and the founding owner of Rooderandt Produksies (see further below).

He has also over the years restored a number of old farm and town houses, among them La Terra de Luc in Franschoek and Rooderandt Guest House in Oudtshoorn.

Married the actress Liz Dick on 2 April in 1969. The couple had two children, Tanya Petrofna and Mashinka, and divorced in 1980. He married Marlize Herselmann in 1983, with whom he also had two daughters, Natasha and Nandi. They divorced in of 1992 and in 1995 he married Maletta.

Besides his plays, Fourie has also written quite a number of poems over the years, some published in journals, but his debut volume of poetry, Knapsekêrels only appeared in 2017, published by Naledi.

He passed away on 12 September, 2021.

His contribution to South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance

While a final year student in 1963 he wrote a play called Tjaka and in his honours year (1964) translated the play Close Quarters (originally Attentat by Somin) into Afrikaans as Wie is die Moordenaar? ("Who is the murderer?"), directed it and performed in it with fellow students Marie Pentz, Fanie Smit and Peter Grobbelaar during the vacations.

In 1965 he started his own touring production company, the Pieter Fourie Genootskap ("Pieter Fourie Association"), with actresses such as Christine Basson en Marie Pentz, writing and directing the work himself. Other performers associated with the company included Ilse Eybers, Annatjie Fourie and Lydia Theron

In 1966 he joined the CAPAB Drama Company as the company manager of the Afrikaans Company and in 1967 he was made Artistic Director for Afrikaans Drama, and in 1968 Artistic Director for Drama, a position he held for sixteen years (from 1968-1983), though he was fired three times and then reinstated each time. In this period he wrote his first significant work.

In 1981 he was appointed Playwright in Residence with CAPAB, with the commission to write two plays a year, as well as acting as translator and dramaturg for other work. He held this contract till to 1986. In Januarie 1987 he was appointed to the same position with PACT, under the same conditions, a position he occupied till 1990. There was some unhappiness with his output over the first four years, and more particularly the farces he wrote under the contract, and it was not renewed.

In this period he took his anti censorship beliefs a step further, demanding that his plays should henceforth be open to all races and , issuing a direct instruction in this regard to the South African rights organization, DALRO.

When he left PACT in 1990, he briefly worked as a writer for Franz Marx on the TV series Grondbaronne, but found it unpalatable, so he then left to spend some time in Bloemfontein with Nico Luwes and family, giving some guest lectures at the University. At this time he and Marlize were getting a divorce, a process that would only be completed at the end of 1992. He returned to his birthplace, Luckhoff, staying there for three years, restoring houses and furniture and writing as a freelance dramatist. Here he hoped to recoup his energy and creative spirit, and this period of lonliness and introspection became the incentive for his restrospective play, Post Mortem, which he completed in 1993.

In 1994 he was invited to become the Executive Director of the first Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK) in Oudtshoorn, taking place from 7 tot 13 April, 1995. He moved there and would remain the director till 1998, when he took on the lesser position of Artistieke Bestuurder Woordkuns (i.e. "Artistic director verbal arts"), to give himself more time to write. In 1999 he resigned altogether to return to writing and producing on a freelance basis, founding a production company, Rooderandt Produksies, in 2000, which would go on to produce a number of his works.

In 1996 he married Maletta and after his retirement in 1999 he built and they ran the Rooderandt Guest House outside Oudtshoorn till 2006, after which they settled in Stilbaai. They later bought another house in Robertson (2010), and after that one in Onrusrivier, but retained the property in Stilbaai as a beach house.

Over the years he was also involved as advisor, judge etc. with institutions such as the ATKV - notably for their playwriting project ATKV Kampustoneel and the Logan Toneelfees.

His career as actor


He began his professional career with performances in Wie is die Moordenaar? ("Who is the murderer?", 1964), and his own plays such as Die Onbegraafde Lyk ("The unburied corpse", 1965), Die Wakker Wewenaar ("The spry bachelor", 1965), Vergewe Ons Ons Skulde ("Forgive us our trespasses", 1966), Gee Terug My Pen ("Give me back my pen") and Ester die Maltrap ("Ester the madcap").


He had roles in Dr Kalie (1968), My Broer se Bril (1972), Vlug van die Seemeeu (1972),


His career as director

He initially wrote and directed his own work for his travelling company, the Pieter Fourie Genootskap (see names of the plays below).

In 1969 he directed his first piece for CAPAB, namely Fando and Lis by Arrabal. He went on to direct a large number of translated plays in the sixties and seventies, including Die Selfmoordenaar (Erdmann), Die Twee Laksmanne (Arrabal), 1971, 'n Kop vir die Strop (Feydeau), Die Huwelik van Mnr. Mississippi (Dürrenmatt), Shakespeare's Othello, So 'n Liefde, Roulette and Arme moordenaar (all by Pavel Kohout), Anastasia, 1979 .

His career as playwright

Original plays

He began by translating or writing plays for his travelling company between 1964-1966, and the works include Wie is die Moordenaar? ("Who is the murderer?", 1964), Die Onbegraafde Lyk ("The unburied corpse", 1965), Die Wakker Wewenaar ("The spry bachelor", 1965), Vergewe Ons Ons Skulde ("Forgive us our trespasses", 1966), Gee Terug My Pen ("Give me back my pen") and Ester die Maltrap ("Ester the madcap"). These texts have apparently all been lost.

He then went on to write many more works over the years, including The Parents (an English work, written 1966, performed 1980), Hansie die Hanslam: ’n toneelstuk vir kinders (1969, an immensely popular children's play), Husse met Lang Ore (1969), Luilummel en Flenterpiet (1971), Faan se Trein (written 1971, performed 1975), Faan se Stasie (1976), Tsjaka (written 1963, but published 1976, as both Tsjaka and Shaka), Die Joiner (1976), Die Martelaars (1977), Die Plaasvervangers (1978) Mooi Maria (1980), Pietman se Bloekom (1983), Tienuur Maak Die Deure Oop (1984), Ek, Anna van Wyk (1986), Die Proponentjie (1987), Die Koggelaar (1988), Donderdag se Mense (1989/1990); Die Groot Wit Roos (1989); Vat hom, Flaffie! (or Hups in die Hydro) (1989), Daan se Doilie (1990), Post Mortem (1993/2016), Boetman is die bliksem in! (2000), Naelstring (’n band tussen twee teaterstrominge) (2001 - also done in English as Fuck thy Father), Elke duim 'n koning ("Every inch a king", 2001), Gert Garries – 'n baaisiekel babelas (2002), Koggelmanderman (2003), Die Mugu (2003), Die Mankind Faan (2006/7), Jasmyn (2008),

Translations and adaptations

He also did a number of translations and adaptations, inter alia in his capacity as dramaturg with CAPAB and PACT. These included Kyk Hoe Hol Hulle (See How They Run by Philip King),

Film scripts

He co-wrote the script for Faan se Trein, based on the two Faan plays. This was filmed in 2013 and released in January, 2014.


Received the Three Leaves Award as best director for So 'n Liefde (Pavel Kohout) (19**).

Other awards include Johan Nell Prize for his contribution to local theatre, Dawie Malan/DALRO prize for the best new play; the SACPAC Prize for the best new South African text (Die Koggelaar); winner Nagtegaal/KKNK-competition for a new text, 2002;

In 199* awarded an Erepenning (=Honorary Penant) for his contribution to the performing arts by the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns and in 2003 received the prestigious Hertzog Prize for Drama for his plays.

In 2011 an Honorary Doctorate was awarded to him by the University of the Free State[1]


Percy Tucker, 1997



Nico Luwes 2012. Pieter Fourie (1940-) se bydrae as Afrikaanse dramaturg en kunsbestuurder: 1965-2010. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Bloemfontein: University of the Free State, pp. [2]

Go to South African Theatre/Bibliography

Pieter Fourie, Arts Administrator

Pieter Fourie (194*-) is a hugely influential organisor of the ATKV drama programmes, festivals and so on (1980**-19**). Perhaps best remembered for his pivotal role in initiating and managing the Kampustoneel playwriting project (198*-198*). Later a publicist for PACOFS.

Pieter J. Fourie, Academic

An influential lecturer, theorist and academic writer specialising in the field of Communication Studies, and a part-time drama and film critic

See Pieter J. Fourie

Pieter-Paul Fourie, playwright and literary advisor

A playwright and literary advisor for PACT

See Pieter-Paul Fourie

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