Winston Ntshona put his body in the line of fire

Actor, playwright and mentor Winston Ntshona, who passed away on August 2 at the age of 76, was a pioneer in the manner that he used his acting talents to resist the absurdities of the apartheid regime.

His life’s work is not only intertwined with his fellow actors and playwrights such as John Kani and Athol Fugard but also with the actors he mentored and influenced, among them the likes of Sello Maake ka Ncube and Thembi Mtshali.

Known primarily for starring in the Fugard-directed plays Sizwe Banzi Is Dead, The Island and Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act, Ntshona has also enjoyed a lengthy film career, with roles in films such as A Dry White Season, The Wild Geese and Dogs of War. Performing both Sizwe Banzi Is Dead and The Island in repertory on Broadway, Ntshona and Kani jointly bagged a Tony Award in 1975 for best actor in a play. These were roles the pair would play for over 30 years, starting from deep within the grip of apartheid to after its legislative demise.

While on a national tour in 1976, Ntshona and Kani were detained for several weeks following a performance of Sizwe Banzi Is Dead in the Transkei town of Butterworth. They emerged from the experience rather resolute, with Ntshona telling the press that being locked up was “second nature to us in our country.”

On hearing the news of Ntshona’s death, A Dry White Season director Euzhan Palcy told The Hollywood Reporter that with the role of Gordon, Ntshona had transcended mere acting. Production had to pause to calm emotions due to Ntshona’s powerful performances.

In 2010, he was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in silver for his contribution to the arts.

Ntshona, who died in the Port Elizabeth township of New Brighton, will be buried on August 10. 

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertisting

The rule of law in times of crisis: Covid-19 and...

Under a state of national disaster, some rights may be suspended. But it is critical to remember that the Constitution itself is not suspended

Test backlog skews SA’s corona stats

With thousands of samples still waiting to be processed, labs are racing to ramp up testing to help the government gain a better idea of how prevalent Covid-19 really is

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories