Press: Sizwe Banzi is Dead, directed by John Kani, starring Mncedisi Shabangu and Atandwa Kani, at the Baxter this August and September

“A joyous hymn to human nature” – The New York Times


Following its resounding success in the United States earlier this year, the South African theatre classic Sizwe Banzi is Dead, directed by John Kani and starring Mncedisi Shabangu and Atandwa Kani, comes to the Baxter Flipside from 19 August to 12 September at 7.30pm nightly.


Forty years since John Kani and Winston Ntshona won the Best Actor Tony Award for their performances in the play, which they co-created with Athol Fugard, and nearly a decade after the two theatre veterans reprised their roles at the Baxter in 2006, John Kani returns as director, with his son in the role which he made famous. 


The award-winning iconic production about the universal struggle for human dignity, a black man in apartheid-era South Africa tries to overcome oppressive work regulations to support his family. This soaring and personal new production was originally produced by the Market Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center and Syracuse Stage and was performed in Johannesburg, Princeton and Syracuse in the US.


The New York Times called it “A joyous hymn to human nature” while The New York Post described it as “Hypnotic … Overwhelming compassion … Powerful” and On Stage said, “Kani and Shabangu give a riveting performance worthy of the material. This is a must-see production.”   

Mannie Manim, producer and lighting designer has been involved with the production since the late 70s.


Kani and Ntshona performed the play in South Africa, England and on Broadway, where they jointly won the coveted Tony Awards for Best Actor. In 1976 they were arrested by the Apartheid Secret Police and were detained in solitary confinement for 23 days. They were only released because of massive demonstrations by the arts fraternity all over the world.


“Sizwe Banzi is Dead became a statement that articulated the anger of black people against these laws,” says the triple Honourary Doctorate recipient, Kani. “It’s about the universal struggle of identity, of the dignity of the human being, and respect for humanity.”


“Winston, Athol and I were like Drs Frankenstein creating a monster that has occupied our lives for more than four decades. When Syracuse and Princeton Theatres asked me to revive this production I was very elated. It gave me the opportunity to work with younger South African actors who were not even born when this play was first staged.”


Mncedisi was recently seen in Lara Foot’s Fishers of Hope and Tshepang while Atandwa was last seen at the Baxter in The Miser, Hayani and The Tempest.

Sizwe Banzi is Dead previews from 19 to 20 August, opens 21 August and runs until 12 August in the Baxter Flipside, at 7.30pm nightly, with a matinee on Saturday, 22 August at 2pm. Tickets cost R120 (previews, matinee and Baxter Mondays), R130 Tuesday to Thursday and R150 over weekends. The Baxter Monday special applies where patrons pay R120 which includes a meal and the performance.


Booking is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet.


For any discount on corporate, school, charity, or fundrasing events, as well as block bookings, please contact Sharon on 021 680 3962 or, or Carmen on 021 680 3993 or



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