SIZWE BANZI IS DEAD
THE POWERFUL AWARD-WINNING PLAY ABOUT APARTHEID IN SOUTH AFRICA
by The People's Fund
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Undated, about February 1978
The plight of South Africa's Black population is shown in the story of Sizwe Banzi, a rural villager who arrives in the city in search of a job and is immediately confronted with the bureaucratic cruelty of apartheid regulations that forbid him to remain and look for work. Sizwe Banzi finds an unorthodox solution to the injustice of South Africa's racist passbook system. The play is a collaborative effort by three South Africans, white playwright Athol Fugard and Black actors John Kani and Winston Ntshono, who won Tony Awards as the best actors of the 1974-75 season when the play ran on Broadway. Kani and Ntshono have since returned to South Africa where the apartheid system does not even permit them to be classified as actors or artists. The play created an uproar in the Transkei, one of the so-called 'independent homelands' created by the South African government as an effort to avoid granting Blacksfull social and political rights within the country as a whole. The People's Fund is an alternative fundraising organization that supports Philadelphia-area groups doing activist social change work. The event is also sponsored by the United People’s Campaign Against Apartheid and Racism (UPCAAR), an organization of Blacks and whites committed to working for the liberation of Southern Africa and against racism in the U.S., and Philadelphia Namibia Action Project (PNAG) that is connected with Operation Namibia, a collective of The Movement for a New Society working through non-violent direct action for social justice and freedom in Namibia. The mailing quotes from a review by Clive Barnes of the New York Times. The mailing mentions the Chicago Goodman Theater, the Joseph Jefferson Awards, Meshach Taylor, Lionel Smith, Gregory Mosher, the Minister of Justice, banned books, First Pennsylvania Bank, and the Third World Coalition.
Used by permission of former members of United People's Campaign Against Apartheid and racism.
Collection: Vincent Klingler papers, Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections