Valda Adams

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Valda Adams (b. Stellenbosch, 07/01/1916 - d. Cape Town, 20/06/2010) was an actress and diplomat’s wife. Also credited as Valda Lomberg.


Although Valda Margaret Adams was born in Stellenbosch, she grew up in the family home in Plumstead, Cape Town. The fourth of nine children, she was the daughter of architect Michael Adams and his wife, Margaret Eigelaar. She attended, first, Plumstead Primary School, where she made her stage debut as the eponymous heroine in Pinkie and the Fairies, a play for children by W. Graham Robertson, and then Wynberg Girls High School. This was followed by a degree in speech and drama at the University of Cape Town, where she met her future husband, Malcolm Lomberg, who was a journalism graduate.

In the early days they were both involved with the Little Theatre Players in Cape Town and he acted in Rollo Gamble’s production of Clemence Dane's Wild Decembers (1937). In 1938 she was given the non-speaking role of Maria van Riebeeck in the film Die Bou van ‘n Nasie (Joseph Albrecht/Andries A. Pienaar). On stage she appeared in Time and the Conways (1939) and Music at Night (1946), for the Cape Town Repertory Theatre Society, as well as in A Murder Has Been Arranged (1941) and Heartbreak House (1942) for the Combined Dramatic Societies of Cape Town, all at the Little Theatre. For A Murder Has Been Arranged she also acted as producer.

In 1941 she married Malcolm (1913-1987), who became a career diplomat, and her stage appearances were governed by the necessity of moving up and down between Cape Town and Pretoria. In Pretoria they combined to present Distinguished Gathering and she also featured on radio, presenting the programme Song of Joy and featuring in Christopher Fry’s A Phoenix Too Frequent (1949) together with Minna Millsten. In addition she worked as a technical producer for radio drama, probably the first woman to have been employed in such a role. She also became the announcer for the S.A. Wool Board’s fashion presentations, where her “beautifully modulated voice” stood her in good stead. At some stage she may also have been an elocution teacher at Maitland High School in Cape Town.

After 1954 her husband was often stationed overseas, first in The Hague, then Paris and finally, in 1961, as Director of Information at South Africa House in London. At that time her stage appearances were few and far between, though when they returned to Pretoria for a few years she was involved in productions of Lorca’s The Puppet Play of Don Cristobal and Shaw’s Androcles and the Lion, as well as helping to organise events like the Pretoria Arts Ball. After the couple returned to South Africa permanently, she resumed her career in radio. Apart from acting in and occasionally writing for radio drama, she was a regular contributor to long-running programmes like Woman's World. The couple’s daughters, Gillian Lomberg (1942-2011) and Gaby Lomberg (1959-2007), also had successful stage careers, while their son, Simon Lomberg, became a musician with a long career as broadcaster, producer and performer in South Africa and the United Kingdom. (FO)


Rand Daily Mail, 17 August 1961

Hatfield, Denis - Cape theatre in the 1940's: reviews of ballet and drama (1967)

Le Roux, André I. & Fourie, Lilla – Filmverlede: geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse speelfilm (1982)

Correspondence with Simon Lomberg

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