John Kani, one of the co-authors of Sizwe Banzi is Dead, has brought the play from Johannesburg’s famed Market Theatre to Princeton. Sizwe Banzi is Dead is a classic protest play from the apartheid era in South Africa. Kani co-wrote the play with Athol Fugard and Winston Ntshona in the early 1970s. After putting on a few productions, the play was banned and the apartheid government imprisoned Kani. In 1974, Sizwe Banzi and The Island won Kani and Ntshona a Tony Award. In the current production at McCarter, Kani’s son Atandwa stars along with Mncedisi Shabangu.
In this interview Kani speaks about Sizwe Banzi‘s role in the anti-apartheid movement and how it landed him in solitary confinement and on the apartheid government’s hit list. McCarter Theatre Artistic Director, Emily Mann, also speaks about bringing Sizwe to McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton. Sizwe Banzi is Dead runs through February 15, 2014. This video includes footage of the 2014 production at The Market Theatre in Johannesburg shot by Competent Artistes, Ltd. in South Africa, as well as production by Ruphin Coudyzer. The rehearsal photos in Princeton were shot by Matt Pilsner. The historical production photo was provided by John Kani. And the historical photo of John Kani, Athol Fugard, and Winston Ntshona was provided by John Haynes of Lebrecht Music and Arts.