Minister Mthethwa pays tribute to legendary TV producer and cultural activist, Boykie Mohlamme

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01 Sep 2014

It was with deep sadness that we have learned of the death of nationally renowned theatre and television writer, producer, director and actor, the legendary Boykie Mohlamme who died at the age of 83 on 27 August 2014.

At the time of his death, Mohlamme was a celebrated and recognized cultural leader, activist and campaigner for human rights in the broadcasting sector. We offer our condolences to his family, relatives, friends, the broadcasting fraternity and millions of fans.

Born in Lefurutshane in the North West in the late 1930s, he left his family and friends as a gesture of defiance against the Bantustan system. Thus he took charge of his life to settle in Johannesburg to pursue a career as an actor, playwright and theatre producer in the late 1960s and 1970s. This was time he honed his craft and deepened his political insights into the challenges that confronted African people under apartheid.

In fact, he soon rose to prominence and was working alongside renowned township theatre icons like Gibson Kente and Sam Mhangwani in the 1970s. With his intuitive understanding of the black condition, Mohlamme was able to connect with his audience, especially theatre patrons.
Perhaps more than any other theatre practitioner, Mohlamme his stage works fused religious messages with politics that heightened the consciousness of the people.

Following his hugely successful touring ventures with his productions like Mahlomola, Amen and Lord Why, Mohlamme was recruited to join the SABC as an actor and featured in popular series like Bonweenwee and Boohelo ke Semphege. Later he rose to be a prolific producer of TV productions that turned into series.

By the 1980s he had endeared himself to a growing African television audience with his acting and writing talent that touched the nerve of the people.
He was a rare cultural activist who doubled up as an underground liberation movement cadre who recruited scores of youth for military training.

Significantly, in the 1980s he was in the forefront of organizing the creative sector towards a strong union that culminated in the formation of Performing Arts Workers Equity.
Although he had a reputation as a fiery radical for his opposition to exploitation of actors, he understood the business side of the sector and thus established the first black owned casting agency.

To the Disadvantaged and marginalized African community, Mohlamme was an accomplished performing artist who rose above his circumstances to be an agent of the society that he wanted to see. Those who knew his principled commitment to human rights in the creative sector acknowledge his pivotal role in the formation and launch of the Creative Workers Union of South Africa.

Ntate Mohlamme - as he was fondly called - was an advocate of using the creative sector, especial theatre and television, as an instrument for nation building and social cohesion.
His role and contribution has highlighted the urgency of radical economic and cultural transformation of the creative industry.

Mohlamme’s funeral is tomorrow, Tuesday, 02 September 2014, and the service starts at 08h00 at the Leondale Community Hall in Ekurhuleni. The cortege departs for South Park (Chris Hani Cemetery) at 09h30am. May his soul rest in peace.

For enquiries   : Sandile Memela Spokesperson for the Ministry on 0828003750

                        : Lisa Combrinck Chief Director: Communications on 0828214886