Biography of Gibson KENTESouth Africa > Arts : Gibson KENTE
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Born on 23/07/1932 (format : day/month/year)Biography :
Gibson Kente (b July 23 ,1932 - died Nov 7, 2004) ,was a famous South African playwright who introduced musical theatre to the impoverished townships of South Africa. Considered the founding father of black township theatre, he was responsible for helping to launch the careers of other South African entertainers such as Brenda Fassie.Kente fought apartheid by embedding laughter, dance and music into works .
Based in Soweto, Kente was one of the first writers to deal with life in South Africa's townships.
He produced 23 plays and three television dramas between 1963 and 1992 after beginning his career with a black theatre group in Johannesburg
Through his plays Kente connected with local audiences not only by entertaining them with laughter, music, and dance but also by dealing with social issues such as crime, poverty, and apartheid. In 2003 Kente publicly announced that he was HIV-positive, a brave act that earned him praise from political leader Nelson Mandela.
He told the world he had HIV/Aids in early 2003, died at his Soweto home on Sunday, a close relative confirmed.
Kente's cousin, Nomathemba Kela, said the playwright, called a "living treasure" by the National Arts Council, died in his sleep.
"He was a very strong person, a role model for many artists," Kela said.
"He had a positive attitude towards others and fought a very brave fight for a long time."
Kente was born in East London in 1932.
His education was in the field of social work at the Jan Hofmeyr School of Social Work, the NAC says in a showcase biography on its website.
Last update : 10/18/2008Update this page