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Athol Fugard (1932-)

Athol Fugard was born in Middelburg, South Africa, in 1932 to working class white English and Afrikaner parents. His mother tongue was English, so that he describes himself as an Afrikaner writing English.
After some acting experience, he started writing plays in 1956.
In 1958 he moved to Johannesburg, where he worked for six months as a clerk in the Fordsburg Native Commissioner's Court (which made him aware of the injustices of apartheid).
His attacks on apartheid brought him into conflict with the South African Government. In 1961, when the book "The Blood Knot" put a black actor alongside a white one on the same stage, his passport was withdrawn ( and returned only four years later), followed by virtual house arrest from 1967 to 1971.
Further restrictions came as a consequence of his encouraging an international boycott against South African's practice of segregating theater audience. He has made a reputation as a playwright, director and as an actor also.

Among his best-known plays there is My Children My Africa (staged in 1989). When apartheid was abolished, he turned his attention to other problems such as corruption, poverty, Aids, unemployment, etc., which still existed despite the newly born democracy. During apartheid he often happened to work with black or mixed-race actors. This has him an innovator, because the constant interaction between white and black characters has led to renew traditional playwriting.

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