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Obituary: Ronnie Govender (1934 – 2021)

The Creative Feel team is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Ronnie Govender. The award-winning Durban activist, playwright, director, author, and community theatre pioneer died on Thursday 29 April from age-related illnesses.

Ronnie Govender obituary

Govender will be remembered for his immense capacity for storytelling, on stage and on the page. Notable works by the author and playwright include Black Chin White Chin, Song of the Atman, and, of course, At the Edge and Other Cato Manor Stories which won Govender the 1997 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best first book, Africa.
     As a result of his tireless work as an artist and political activist, both during apartheid-era South Africa and well into the country’s democracy, Govender was a recipient of the Government of South Africa’s Order of Ikhamanga in 2008 for his contributions to democracy, peace and justice in the country through theatre.
     In a statement released by South African producer Anant Singh and his wife Vanashree, the two reflect on the time they spent with Govender, and his invaluable contributions to the South African arts.

At the Edge and Other Cato Manor Stories, was a brilliant account of life in the cultural melting pot that was Cato Manor. This play traveled to the prestigious Edinburgh Festival and he was recognised with the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for this work. Having known him since the 1970s, we spent memorable evenings in his company when he ran the Aquarius Restaurant in Reservoir Hills. Due to limited theatre venues for Indians in those days, he opened up the Aquarius as a theatre venue to stage his plays and that of fellow playwrights, making it one of the most popular entertainment venues of the time. We have lost a prolific writer and a true son of the soil.’

Vanashree and Anant Singh

The Creative Feel team extends its condolences to Govender’s family and friends and wish them strength in this difficult time.

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