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Topic Summary

Posted by: Iain Fisher
« on: June 12, 2011, 11:36:11 PM »

"What I've learnt: John Kani" by Marion Scher, Times Live, 11 Jun 2011

"...My passion was also Saturday-morning movies, where for a tickey you could sit on the floor and watch Roy Rogers and The Lone Ranger . As I spoke English I became the official translator for my friends . Afterwards we'd all meet outside, where the kids who couldn't afford the movie would listen to me narrate the whole movie, actions and all - I loved it and the acting bug had bitten ...

...I ended up working at Ford cleaning tanks. I heard of a group who put on plays and went along to this house where I saw this "poor white" sitting outside . I walked past him and went in. The poor white followed me, stuck out his hand and said "Athol". I offered my hand. "John," I said, amazed. This was the first time a white man had shaken my hand and told me his name - Athol Fugard.

South Africans are always there. Over the years, wherever we perform, in Edinburgh or New York, I always know when South Africans are in the audience. I drop in a few words in Afrikaans, Zulu or Xhosa and you hear the laugh. I look across and there they are smiling back at me. It was odd at first, because we were segregated at home, but in London or Liverpool we were family.

...I love new challenges. I've written my own play, Nothing But the Truth , with another on the way and am working on a soapie.

I get so cross when people don't see what we have gained. I know that these strides are dots in the bigger picture, but our new democracy hasn't failed. There are certain individuals who give others a bad name, but there's far more good in this country than bad, and we can build on that."

The full text is here