Robin Malan

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Robin Malan (194*-). Actor, writer, teacher, publisher.


While taking degrees in Arts and Education at UCT, he trained in the Speech and Drama Department.

Since then he has worked in English teaching and theatre-in-education all his life.

Worked at the Space Theatre in the early 1970s. Taught at University of Stellenbosch Drama Department in the 1970's and tutored in the English Department at the University of Cape Town.

In 1974 Malan became artistic director of PACT Playwork theatre-in-education company. He created a symbiotic unity of theatre and education by making Theatre in Education (TIE) the basis of their work. Instead of presenting dramatized versions of literary texts prescribed to schools, the texts were use to address socio-political issues. Management policy and rules laid down by education department led to Malan’s resignation in 1978. He was Assistant Head at Waterford Kamhlaba United World College in Swaziland, and ran a specialist bookshop in Mbabane, Swaziland. He then moved to Botswana to teach at **.

In 199* he returned to South Africa, settling in Cape Town where he does volunteer work for Triangle Project and writes a monthly column ‘Young Gay Guys’ for Exit newspaper. He was one of the founding editors of English Alive[, is the Series Editor for the Siyagruva Series of novels for South African teens.


A prolific author, famous for his satirical book on South African English called Ah Big Yaws?: A Guard to Sow Theffricun Innglissh, the famous poetry anthologies Inscapes, New Inscapes and Worldscapes; prose collections such as Being here: Modern short stories from Southern Africa, New Beginnings: Short Stories from Southern Africa and No Place Like and Other Short Stories by Southern African Women Writers, as well as various collections of writings by and about Gay men.

Contributions to literary history include Ourselves in Southern Africa: An Anthology of Southern African Writing, Burning a Hole in the Page: A Reader's Guide to 70 South African Writers,

In 2005 he founded Junkets, a small-scale publisher based in Cape Town, South Africa, in association with Snailpress, in order to publish his novel Rebel Angel. Since the Malan has made an invaluable contribution by being instrumental in publishing numerous volumes of poetry, plays and novels under the Junkets imprint that may never have appeared in print.

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

Work in theatre

Since 1959 he has played many roles at the Little Theatre, Cape Town. He was very active in youth theatre and was one of the forces behind the organising of the Theatre for Youth Winter School of Drama in 1964.

One of the founding editors of the short-lived theatre journal Teater/Theatre SA (1968/69).

He has appeared on stage in Death of a Salesman (1962-3), Periandros van Korinthe, The Diary of Anne Frank, King Lear (Maynardville 1966), Major Barbara.

He directed Iphigenia in Tauris (1960), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, When Thou Art King, The Angry Old Man, The Exception and the Rule, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore; directed and acted in That Skelm Scapino (1976).

He directed productions like Miss Los Istrata (1972) and The Fall and Redemption of Man (1973). Devised Workplay and directed A Phoenix too Frequent and Skyvers/Jollers for the Space Theatre, and acted as a judge for the one-act play competition held in 1972-3.

He directed children’s plays such as Old King Cole (written by Ken Campbell) and Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne) for PACT Playwork.

As playwright

Wrote and adapted the texts for iHamlet (2012),

Plays and Theatre publications

Play collections are Play Workshop. Ten One Act Plays, The Distance Remains and Other Plays, S.A. Gay Plays 1: The Artscape Dublin Festival Plays, Short, Sharp & Snappy 1: Southern African Plays for High Schools

Books about theatre matters, Drama-teach; drama-in-education and theatre for young people,


He received the Molteno Medal for lifetime service to literature by the Cape 300 Foundation.

Awarded the English Academy of Southern Africa's Gold Medal for 2014 for his services to English over a long career in education and theatre.


Books by Robin Malan, Goodreads[1]

Various entries in the NELM catalogue.

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