South African playwright Winston Ntshona passes on at 76

South African playwright and anti-apartheid activist Winston Ntshona has died. He was aged 76.

Ntshona’s son Lawula confirmed that the icon had passed away at 8am on Thursday.

Lawula said Nthsona had been ill for the past eight years. “Thus far we are just reeling in shock but we are coming together as a family‚” he said.

Ntshona started his career in 1965 when he formed the Serpent Players in Port Elizabeth with playwright Athol Fugard and actor John Kani. Together they created pioneering South African plays.

Ntshona’s work with Kani on the stage achieved global recognition. Both have won numerous awards for their contribution to theatre‚ including Broadway’s prestigious Tony Award in 1975 for writing and acting in ‘Sizwe Banzi Is Dead’.

In 2010 Ntshona was among the recipients of the National Orders Awards. Ntshona was among the 37 individuals and organisations‚ including academics‚ struggle icons‚ sportsmen and leaders in the arts‚ who received the award from former president Jacob Zuma at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria.

At the time‚ Zuma said Ntshona used the stage to expose life under apartheid to the world.

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