‘Sizwe Banzi is Dead’ playwright Winston Ntshona Passes Away

South African playwright, actor and anti-apartheid activist Winston Ntshona has died at the age of 76.

According to Times Live,  the Tony award-winning playwright had been ill for the last 8 years.

Ntshona has won numerous awards for his contribution to theatre‚ including the prestigious Tony Award in 1975 for writing and acting in ‘Sizwe Banzi Is Dead’.

His son Lawula spoke about his father passing away saying, “Thus far we are just reeling in shock but we are coming together as a family.”

Dr. Ntshona is a theatre legend as is known as the SA actor who took Robben Island to Broadway. It’s not uncommon to hear of South Africans performing their art on global stages, but he was one of the first when he appeared in Michael Hastings’ monologue Full Frontal at the Royal Court Theatre in London. This appearance would be the first of many that would see him traverse prestigious theatre stages in the world, including on Broadway.

The name of Winston Ntshona is closely associated with those of John Kani and Athol Fugard. It is just impossible to think of one without the others. With Fugard and Kani, Ntshona wrote the 1973 play The Island, in which he and Kani starred in a number of major international productions of the play over the next 30 years. He and Kani were co-winners of the Tony Award for Best Actor on Broadway in a play for their performance in both The Island and Sizwe Banzi is Dead, which he also co-wrote. In 2010, he was awarded the National Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for his excellent contribution to theatre and the arts scene in South Africa.

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