The University Record, November 20, 2000

South African playwright Athol Fugard to be in residence here next month

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services

Playwright, actor, director and anti-apartheid activist Athol Fugard, recognized as one of the world’s leading theater artists, will be in residence at the University Dec. 3–9 as part of “Communities of Concern: Artists and Writers from the U.S. and South Africa on the Changing Nature of Identity in Post-Apartheid South Africa.”

Supported by the Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing Program and the Department of English, Fugard will give a lecture titled “Antigone in Africa” at 5 p.m. Dec. 4 in Rackham Amphitheater. Following the lecture, Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theatre will screen a film version of Fugard’s play, Boesman and Lena, starring Angela Bassett and Danny Glover. The author will read from his memoir Cousins at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, also in Rackham Amphitheater.

Born in a remote village in South Africa, Fugard grew up in Port Elizabeth, attended Cape Town University and spent two years as the only white seaman on a merchant ship in the Far East. In 1958 he moved to Johannesburg, where he organized the first multiracial theater for which he wrote, directed and acted. His continued attacks on apartheid brought him into conflict with the South African government, which withdrew his passport for four years.

Fugard’s major works include Blood Knot, ‘Master Harold’? and the Boys, Road to Mecca, and My Children! My Africa! His most recent work is the autobiographical play The Captain’s Tiger.

“Communities of Concern” has been organized by art Prof. Edward West, who, more than 25 years ago, attended Fugard’s play Sizwe Bansi Is Dead and found his interest in the country and its people galvanized. West recently completed a series of trips to South Africa where he photographed in the country’s communities of color—townships, squatter camps and other locations—during this historic, post apartheid era. The resulting series of large-scale color images titled “Casting Shadows” will be at the Museum of Art’s Twentieth Century Gallery Dec. 2–Jan. 28. Admission to the lecture, reading and exhibition is free.