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Gibson Kente


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Gibson Kente (1932 - 7 November 2004) was a South African playwright based in Soweto. He was known as the Father of Black Theatre in South Africa, and was one of the first writers to deal with life in the South African black townships. He produced 23 plays and television dramas between 1963 and 1992. He is also responsible for producing some of South Africa’s leading musicians. And many past and present prominent artists, including Brenda Fassie, owe their first opportunities on stage to him.

Three of his plays drew criticism for being anti-apartheid and were banned: How Long, I Believe and Too Late. He was jailed for one year in 1976 on conclusion of the filming of his play How Long. The film was never released and the master negative of the film was given to the National Film Board in Pretoria. The National Film, Video and Sound Archives is the current custodian of this film. Another famous piece is Mama and the load, which some consider to be his best.

In 2003 he announced that he was HIV Positive. This public admission received praise from South African politicians, including Nelson Mandela.

He died in his sleep and was survived by two sons and three grandchildren.

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