Durban Living Legend – Ronnie Govender

Ronnie Govender was born in 1934, in Cato Manor, Durban. He is a well known playwright. To date Govender has written and directed more than 16 plays, including “Beyond Calvary”, “At the Edge”, “The Lahnee’s Pleasure” was one of South Africa’s longest-running plays and “Off-Side”. He founded the Shah Theatre Academy in the fifties to foster non-racial South African Theatre.

In 2008 he published his book of memories and reflections, “In the Manure”. In 2009 Jacana published a novel based on his play called “The Lahnee’s Pleasure” . He launched a new play based on his life as a writer, “Thunsil – The Mischief Maker”.

His book, At the Edge and other Cato Manor Stories, won the 1997 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best first book, Africa. He founded his own theatre company called the Shah Theatre Academy.

In 1991, Govender was appointed marketing manager of the Baxter Theatre and two years later became director of Durban’s Playhouse Theatre.

In 2014 Durban University of Technology confered an Honorary Doctor of Technology in Arts and Design for his contribution to literature and the arts in general as well as his contribution to democracy, peace and justice in South Africa through theatre.

He has also received several awards, including a medal by the SA English Academy for his contribution to English literature in 2000, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for his collection of stories At the Edge in 1997, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Department of Arts and Culture in 2006 and another Lifetime Achievement Award, this time from Arts and Culture Trust of SA.

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