Athol Fugard Biography

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Athol Fugard Biography
Athol Fugard (born 1932) was a South African playwright known for his subtle, poignant descriptions of the racial problems in his country. Athol Fugard was born on June 11, 1932, in Middelburgh, a small village in the Karroo district in South Africa, of an English-speaking father and an Afrikaner mother. When he was three years old the family moved to Port Elizabeth, an industrial city on the Indian Ocean coast where Fugard was to spend, off and on, most of his life, and where he was to set most of his plays. He began his higher education studying motor mechanics at the technical college, but he transfered to Cape Town University to study philosophy and social anthropology. Merchant Seaman

After three years he quit school, deciding instead to hitchhike up the African continent. He became a merchant seaman in North Africa and spent two years sailing around the Far East. In 1956 he returned to Port Elizabeth and found a job writing news bulletins for the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation. That year he also married Sheila Meiring, an actress. Together they started an experimental theater group for which Fugard wrote plays. In 1958 the couple went to Johannesburg, where Fugard secured a clerical position in the Native Commissioner's Court. It was while in Johannesburg that he made his first black friends and became fully aware of the extent of the racial problems in his country. Fugard drew on his experiences in the slums of Johannesburg to write his first full-length play, No-Good Friday (1959). His second play came out that same year; titled Nongogo (A Woman for Twenty-Five Cents), an account of a woman who had been a mineworker's whore. Following the production of the second play, Fugard obtained his first paying position in the theater as a stage manager in the National Theatre Organisation. His first major play, The Blood Knot, was written in 1961. It is set in Korsten, a non-white slum near a factory area in Port Elizabeth, and...
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