Did you know?
Athol Fugard has written more than 30 plays.
Time magazine considers South African-born writer Athol Fugard to be 'the greatest active playwright in the English-speaking world'.
And even though this prolific playwright, novelist, actor, director and teacher lives and works in San Diego, USA, he continues to be inspired by the dynamics in his land of birth.
Visitors to South Africa who are interested in Athol Fugard can start off in Nieu Bethesda in the Karoo. Fugard wrote many of his works there but the 'Owl House' town is famous for his play which was later made into a film, The Road to Mecca. It tells the story of Helen Martins who created an imaginary world around her in her Owl House, now a national monument. Fugard has also had a hand in the erection of a theatre in the little town.
Fugard is also remembered in Port Elizabeth where a memorial of kites in St George's Park, where his dad used to run a tearoom, marks his ties to the city. He wrote his only autobiographical play there, Master Harold and the Boys.
While living in the Eastern Cape city, Fugard also founded the Circle Players and then the Serpent Players to bring his plays to life. More recently, he has been hailed for an Oscar-winning film, Tsotsi, based on his work.
In this, like many of his other stories, Athol Fugard portrays the lives of marginalised people and gives a voice to the voiceless. Some of his other plays include The Captain's Tiger, Valley Song, My Children! My Africa, A Lesson from Aloes, The Island, and Sizwe Banzi is Dead.
Fugard was born in Middelburg, Eastern Cape. He began writing in the 50s after he dropped out of university in Cape Town, hitch-hiked to North Africa then worked on a ship in the Far East. Today, he is a professor at the University of California.
He has South Africa and holds US citizenship but Athol Fugard's literature is still known for its South African content, dealing as it does with the political and social upheaval of the apartheid system in South Africa.
His latest play, The Blue Iris, is currently on at The Fugard in District Six, a new Cape Town theatre named after the great man.
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The Owl House
Tel: +27 (049) 8411733