The theatre pioneer and anti-apartheid activist passed away on Thursday at the age of 76.
Winston Ntshona, the veteran South African actor and playwright has died, his family confirmed on Thursday. He was 76.
Ntshona had been ill for eight years, reports Times Live South Africa. Ntshona had a long and successful career in theatre, earning two Tony awards in 1975 along with his collaborator John Kani—who most recently starred in Black Panther—for their plays Sizwe Banzi Is Dead, focusing on South Africa's discriminatory "pass laws," and The Island, about two cellmates at Robben Island who stage a production of Antigone.
Both artists were briefly arrested altering performing the anti-apartheid plays in South Africa the following year.
He also appeared in other notable films including The Wild Geese, The Dogs of War, Marigolds in August, Tarzan and the Lost City, and he had a standout role in the 1989 film A Dry White Season, in which he played a father whose son is beaten by white police officers during an apartheid protest.
He earned a Lifetime Achievement Award at the South African Film and Television Awards in 2011.
"When we started our involvement in local theatre, it was just entertainment. South Africa was a strange place," said Ntshona in a 2001 interview with The Globe and Mail. "Everyone was totally oblivious to the need to express the plight of the black people. Everybody wanted to forget there was pain—they just wanted to be entertained. This worried us, and when the time was ripe, one picked up the responsibility to do something about one's life."
One fan on Twitter, put together a brief compilation of some of Ntshona's work.
A Giant Has Fallen A compilation of Winston Ntshona's work We are because, you were. RIP Winston Ntshona https://t.co/52G21hSRv7— Vusi Africa (@Vusi Africa) 1533230592.0
Since the news of his passing friends, family and supporters have been sharing heartfelt messages about the celebrated thespian's influence and contribution to the arts.
The legendary bab Winston Ntshona has joined Abaphezulu. Rest easy pa! ❤️❤️ #RIPWinstonNtshona https://t.co/EnLOZAMR5A— Zanele Madiba (@Zanele Madiba) 1533238508.0
Rest in power #WinstonNtshona Your works inspired many of us in the formative years of our creative endeavours. https://t.co/j0vnapBTXa— Taku (@Taku) 1533237991.0
My thespian heart is broken RIP Tat' Winston Ntshona— MaGatyeni (@MaGatyeni) 1533239482.0
I actually am numb. My uncle, and absolute inspiration. The reason I changed careers to pursue my calling. I made a… https://t.co/ieacwGmUkf— Nambitha Ben-Mazwi (@Nambitha Ben-Mazwi) 1533209146.0
We are truly saddened by the passing of South African theatre legend Dr #WinstonNtshona. A master of his craft and… https://t.co/zd7Qrhd9rI— Naledi Awards (@Naledi Awards) 1533237477.0
It is with great sadness that I received the news of the passing of my dearest brother Winston Ntshona this morning… https://t.co/OwvsI3cBak— JohnKani (@JohnKani) 1533234295.0
A giant of South African Theatre has fallen with the passing of legendary Actor & Playwright, ubaba Winston Ntshona… https://t.co/NZaZ31JkEi— Min. Nathi Mthethwa (@Min. Nathi Mthethwa) 1533220904.0
Lala ngoxolo Tata Winston Ntshona. Sobonana kwelizayo https://t.co/pqt7HJat5i— Ringo Madlingozi (@Ringo Madlingozi) 1533238913.0
Im so hurt by the news of the great Winston Ntshona passing. The man did amazing work in Theatre. Just a quiet resi… https://t.co/Wrh3MHDETP— Peasantly Father (@Peasantly Father) 1533231371.0
#WinstonNtshona and John Kani's Sizwe Banzi is Dead, should be shared with the youth across the country.— Mbulelo (@Mbulelo) 1533234110.0
My political education started in the early 1970s when I snuck out at night as a teenager to illegally watch Dr Win… https://t.co/qN1qQiOR0K— Centre for ECD (@Centre for ECD) 1533232267.0
5 reasons why Winston Ntshona's death has left Mzansi heartbroken https://t.co/vEbI3yLzLE 💔😥 https://t.co/JcbJ9fZBOv— TshisaLIVE (@TshisaLIVE) 1533222001.0
Winston Ntshona, rest knowing that your theatre descendants are indeed making the work. We are making the work, don’t you worry.— Tiisetso Mashifane (@Tiisetso Mashifane) 1533233685.0