Truida Louw

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Truida Louw (1913-2004). Actress, journalist, teacher and highly accomplished director for radio, stage and film.


Born Gertruida Isabella Reinet (Truida) Pohl in Graaff Reinet on 13 April, 1913, she was one of Pieter Pohl's four talented children, (Truida, Snaps, Anna and Jan Pohl). The family was deeply immersed in cultural matters, and - like her siblings - she obtained her initial training at the hand of her father.

She went to a Catholic school and studied at the Graaff Reinet Teacher's Training College. Appointed a lecturer at the Denne-oord Opleidingskollege in Stellenbosch in 1934, she also began to work for the SABC in Cape Town as freelance radio director and directed plays for amateur companies in Cape Town.

In 1937 joined the staff of the youth journal Die Jongspan and did work for Die Huisgenoot.

Briefly married to a fellow teacher, Fred le Roux, she met the poet and dramatist N.P. van Wyk Louw in the late 1930s, divorced Le Roux and married Louw in 1941. They settled in Johannesburg and had two children Reinet and Peter.

After the death of her husband she returned to directing, working for the SABC and the Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal (PACT) in 1970.

She died in Johannesburg on 17 August, 2004.

Contribution to South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance

She never considered herself an actress, besides a number of roles for her father and as a young woman (at the time performing under the name Truida Pohl). Her roles included the lead in the Denne-oord Opleidingskollege production of Beatrys in 1937*?. After her second marriage she assumed Truida Louw as her professional name and began to make her name as a professional director for radio, stage and film. She also taught theatre studies at the University of Pretoria.

In the initial Stellenbosch and Cape Town period she began directing plays for the Kaapstadse Afrikaanse Toneelvereniging and the Akademie vir Toneelkuns and in 1934 became a part-time employee of the SABC and in 1945 a full-time director.

In 1948 the Louw family went to Holland, where she worked for the Afrikaans service of Radio Nederland.

In 1959 she and two colleagues (Aletta Gericke and Renée van der Walt) founded Trio Films.

Among her best known stage productions are Altyd My Liefste (for NTO with André Huguenet, 1947/8*), the hugely successful Mattewis en Meraai for PACT. She directed N.P. van Wyk Louw’s Die Pluimsaad waai vêr at the Brooke Theatre in 1966 for PACT.

Her Afrikaans production of Schiller’s Maria Stuart, was staged by PACT/TRUK, at the Alexander Theatre in 1972.

She has also directed productions of Ampie, Moeder Courage, Die Nag van Legio, Andorra, Arme Marat, Die Sterkere, Twaalfde Nag, Vrede Tuis, Die Bekentenis, My arme Marat and Die Vroue van Troje.

On occasion acted as adjudicator for the FATSSA Play Festival.


Du Toit, P.J., 1988.

Tucker, 1997.

Obituary, Die Burger, 28th August 2004.

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