Tony Award-Winning South African Actor Winston Ntshona Dies at 76

Obituaries   Tony Award-Winning South African Actor Winston Ntshona Dies at 76
 
Ntshona and co-star John Kani shared the 1975 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for the double bill of Sizwe Banzi Is Dead and The Island.
Winston Ntshona and John Kani in <i>Sizwe Banzi Is Dead</i>
Winston Ntshona and John Kani in Sizwe Banzi Is Dead Harold Gess

Winston Ntshona, the South African actor known for the anti-apartheid dramas Sizwe Banzi Is Dead and The Island—co-written with John Kani and Athol Fugard—has died at age 76 in Brighton, South Africa, The New York Times reports.

Mr. Ntshona originated the title role in Sizwe Banzi Is Dead, playing a man who takes on the identity of a dead man in order to find work. In The Island, he and Kani portrayed inmates of Robben Island, the infamous South African prison where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years.

The plays became touchstones of Mr. Ntshona and Kani’s theatrical careers—a relationship they forged while acting together in high school. They spent more than three decades touring Sizwe Banzi Is Dead and The Island across the world, including productions on Broadway and the West End.

Their Broadway double bill in the plays earned them a shared Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play in 1975. A year later they were arrested in South Africa while on tour with the plays for their commentary on apartheid politics.

Mr. Ntshona and Kani last appeared together in a 2008 remounting of Sizwe Banzi Is Dead and The Island at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Mr. Ntshona also appeared in the films The Wild Geese, A Dry White Season, and The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. He was reunited with Kani and Fugard on the 1980 picture Marigolds in August.

Winston Ntshoma was born October 6, 1941 in the Eastern Cape province. He is survived by his wife, Vuyelwa, and his son, Lawula.

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