Saartjie Botha

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(1972 -) Journalist, theatre producer and playwright. Born Susara Susanna Botha in Bloemfontein, the daughter of Louisa and Louis Botha, went to school at Oranje Meisies Hoër. She studied at the Stellenbosch University. She owned and ran a coffee shop opposite the Stellenbosch University Drama Department, when she began to dabble in theatre. In 2001 she turned to theatre on a full-time basis. As a playwright she has been both influential and prolific. Plays include **, Wat Meisies wil Eet(???) *Vuilspel, Skeer op Richmond, Spanner (2002), ** 1975 (200*), **, Tip, (Woordfees, 2003), , **, Balle (200*), Die Goue Seun, 1975, Smelt. In 2002 Barrie Hough rated Saartjie Botha as the most important voice in Afrikaans theatre since Deon Opperman and Reza de Wet.

In 2002 she, Marthinus Basson and Jaco Bouwer founded the company Vleis, Rys en Aartappels to produce independent Afrikaans work. Their first production was Botha’s own Spanner (2002) and Aars! by Peter Verhelst, followed by more than 60 productions and theatre projects, including Tom Lanoye's Mamma Medea, Astor Piazzolla's tango-operetta Maria de Buenos Aires, Romeo en Julia, Altyd Jonker, Verkeer, Smag, Skrapnel and a magnificent Afrikaans version of Long Day's Journey into Night (called ’n Lang dagreis na die nag).

She has written for the journals Insig and LitNet, been organiser of theatre for festivals such as the KKNK and the Woordfees. In 2015 she became caretaker Director of the Stellenbosch Woordfees on the retirement of Dorothea van Zyl. Also involved with community theatre work on the farms around Stellenbosch over the years.


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