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Maxwell Akansina Aziabah

Ghanaian filmmaker, writer, producer, and director, was born in Agona Swedru in the Central Region of Ghana. His father, J. R. Ansah, was a professional photographer, a painter, dramatist, and musician, and his mother was a trader. Kwaw Ansah, after his Anglican elementary education in Agona Swedru, moved to Accra, where he completed his ordinary-level certificate examinations. While studying for his ordinary-level certificate, he worked as a fashion designer for the United Africa Company. He later entered London Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster) in 1963 to study theater design. Having decided to pursue a career in film production, he then enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and graduated two years later, in 1965 with a diploma in dramatic arts That same year he was admitted to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy It was while there that he understudied film production in R ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

actor and comedian, was born in the town of Ouragahio, Ivory Coast. His family had high aspirations for their son, and later struggled at times to understand why he chose acting over a professional career. Bohiri used drying racks for cocoa beans as material to make makeshift stages. He watched other performers and rapidly became one himself, especially because he loved to make other people laugh. At the age of ten, Bohiri watched a play by Daniel Adjé that really caught his attention. From 1974 onward Bohiri aspired to be an actor as well At this point Bohiri had not yet even completed his primary education in Ouragahio Once he entered secondary school Bohiri began to perform in numerous theatrical competitions At a performance by comedian Hilaire Gomé Gnohité Bohiri was stunned by how funny the entertainer was With Gomé Gnohité as a model the young Bohiri ...

Article

Evan Mwangi

Moroccan novelist, dramatist, and radio commentator and producer, was born on 15 July 1926 in the French Moroccan town of Mazagan (present-day el-Jadida), near Casablanca. His father was a fairly liberal tea merchant who regarded European education as a vestibule to a better Moroccan society. As a young boy Chraïbi received his early education in a local qurʾanic school, but when the family moved to Casablanca a little later, he joined a French school. In 1946 he left for Paris to study chemical engineering, graduating in 1950. However, he abandoned his graduate studies in neuropsychiatry just before receiving his doctorate. He traveled across Europe and to Israel, settling in France with his first wife, Catherine Chraïbi (née Birckel), and their children.

From 1952 Chraïbi devoted himself to literature and journalism, and in 1954 he began writing for the National Radio and Television Broadcasting System Ranging from epics to comedy ...

Article

Jenny Murray

Algerian writer and filmmaker, was born Fatma Zohra Imalhayène in Cherchell, Algeria, on 30 June 1936 to Tahar Imalhayène and Bahia Sahraoui. Her father was a teacher in the French colonial school in Mouzaïaville in the Mitidja region, and her mother was a descendant of the Berkani tribe. Djebar attended the school where her father taught, and from 1946 to 1953 she studied classics and English at the French secondary school in Blida. In October 1953, after passing the Baccalauréat examination, she enrolled in the Lycée Bugeaud in Algiers for the hypokhâgne, the first year of a preparatory course for entrance examinations to the École Normale Supérieure. Djebar moved to Paris in October 1954 to complete Première Supérieure in literature Greek and Latin at the Lycée Fénelon The following year she was offered a place at the prestigious École Normale Supérieure de Sèvres and from May to ...

Article

Isabel Morais

Mozambican film director, actor, screenwriter, writer, and lyricist, was born on 22 August 1931 and grew up in Lourenço Marques (present-day Maputo) in the former Portuguese-speaking colony of Mozambique in eastern Africa. Rui (also spelled Ruy) Guerra’s parents were Portuguese immigrants. As a teenager he wrote film reviews, shot films, and became involved in anticolonial and proindependent circles.

At the age of nineteen Guerra left Mozambique for further education in France, where from 1952 to 1954 he studied cinematography at the Institute of High Cinematographic Studies in Paris. Between 1956 and 1957 he became assistant cameraman and director on various French films. In 1958 he emigrated to Brazil, where he directed his first feature film, Os Cafajestes (The Hustlers, 1962), which was selected for the twelfth Berlin International Film Festival. The high point of Guerra’s career came when he directed the political and antimilitarist film Os Fuzis ...

Article

Sola Olorunyomi

Nigerian performer, dramatist, composer, and arguably the nation’s foremost cultural ambassador from the early 1960s to the late 1970s, was born to the Reverend Joseph Oni Ladipo, a missionary in the Anglican Church, and Madam Dorcas Towobola Ajike Ladipo. Duro, as he was known, displayed an early interest in folk songs, traditional music, and moonlight tales. Duro’s immediate sister was Victoria Adeola (who later married Mr. Kolapo); next came Mosunmola (who married Mr. Olagunju); and Emmanuel Olugboyega Ladipo (the provost of St. Paul’s African Church, Gbongan). A set of twins, both girls—Taiwo and Kehinde Ladipo—were the last-born of Madam Towobola, who had almost given up hope of having any surviving child in spite of her strong Christian faith. (Duro himself would be a polygamist.)

As a precocious child who could imitate human actions and compose delightful songs at the briefest prompt Duro Ladipo would later use the dual advantage of ...

Article

Elena Bertoncini Zúbková

, Tanzanian actress, theater and film producer, playwright and scholar, was born in Morogoro District, Tanzania (then Tanganyika). She received her primary education in a Catholic school in Tanzania and later obtained a master’s degree in fine arts from the Yale University Drama School. In 1985, she received her doctorate from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, where she presented the dissertation “Politics and Theatre in Tanzania after the Arusha Declaration, 1967–1987.” She joined the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, teaching theater practice and art for social mobilization. She served as the head of department, associate dean, then dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, member of the university council and subsequently acting director of public service of Dar es Salaam University. She also taught at foreign universities; for example, in 2001 she was a ...

Article

Siphokazi Koyana

South African novelist, poet, playwright, storyteller, actor, and motivational speaker, was born on 27 August 1943 in Gungululu, a village in Tsolo, in the former Transkei, which is now part of the Eastern Cape province. Her father, like many others, was a migrant laborer who worked in Cape Town, about 621 miles (1,000 km) away from his family. When she was 5, she and her immediate family moved to the black locations outside Cape Town to better attend to her mother’s ailing health.

In 1959 Magona completed the junior certificate at Lourdes Secondary School in Mzimkhulu in the former Transkei. In 1961 she graduated from St. Matthews Teacher Training College in Keiskamahoek in the former Ciskei. In 1962 she taught at Hlengisa Primary School, Nyanga Township, Cape Town, before the birth of her first child in 1963 and her marriage in 1964. From 1963 to 1967 she worked ...

Article

Kahiudi C. Mabana

Congolese (Brazzaville) novelist, playwright, and poet, was born Marcel Sony on 4 June 1947 in Kimwanza in the Lower Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo), the eldest of seven children. Sony’s parents originated from opposite banks of the Congo River. At a young age, he went to Congo-Brazzaville to pursue his primary studies. He admits to having had much trouble adapting to scholastic life, which was completely different than that of his native land. All his classmates already spoke French fluently while his linguistic level was still very weak: “I began my studies in the former Belgian Congo (Zaire) and there teaching had been in the native African language. When I left Kinshasa for Brazzaville, I suffered a shock” (Herzberger-Fofana, 1999). Few remarks are made on his secondary studies. Since 1971, Marcel Sony has taught French and English in Kindamba and Pointe-Noire.

La vie et demie Seuil 1979 ...

Article

Foluke Ogunleye

Ghanaian playwright and first female playwright/director south of the Sahara, was also noteworthy for her children’s drama and ground-breaking theatrical experiments. She was born Efua Theodora Morgue in Cape Coast, Gold Coast (now Ghana), and obtained her education from Saint Monica’s Teacher Training College in Ghana; Homerton College in Cambridge, England; and the University of London’s School of Oriental Studies, graduating with specializations in English linguistics, African languages, and drama. Her mother was Harriet Efua Maria Morgue (née Parker), who hailed from the royal families of Gomua Brofo and Anomabu. Her father was Harry Peter Morgue, a well-known teacher of English (Anyidoho, 1996). She married William Sutherland in 1954 and had three children with him William Sutherland 1918 2010 was a lifelong pacifist and liberation advocate He was an active supporter of Kwame Nkrumah and was much involved in the activities of his government He worked with other longtime ...

Article

Kate Tuttle

Born Marcel Sony, Tansi moved from his home in what was then the Belgian Congo to independent Congo (now Congo-Brazzaville) in 1959 to attend French schools. Starting in 1971 he worked as a schoolteacher in Brazzaville, and in 1979 he was appointed both to a position with the ministry of culture and to the directorship of the Rocado Zulu Theatre. That same year, Tansi published his first novel, La Vie et Demie (Life and a Half), as well as his first play, Conscience de Tracteur (Tractor Awareness). In the latter, Tansi used some of the conventions of science fiction to tell a political parable; the play won second place in a theatre competition sponsored by Radio France.

Tansi wrote three more novels in the 1980s—L’Etat Honteux (1981), L’Anté-Peuple (1983), and Les Yeux du Volcan (1988 and four plays becoming well known not only ...

Article

Joel Gordon

Egyptian stage and screen star, director and playwright, was born in Cairo on 14 July 1898, the son of Abd Allah Wahbi Pasha, a senior engineer in the public works ministry. He later recalled attending his first play, Othello, in Sohag, the Upper Egyptian city where his father was posted when he was a boy. In 1912 the family moved back to Cairo, and Wahbi became drawn to the theater district and began acting. His father disapproved—acting was no profession for an elite son—and sent the boy to Italy to study electrical engineering. Undaunted, in Milan he attended a prestigious acting conservatory. By the time he returned to Egypt, in 1922, his father had died, leaving Wahbi with a substantial inheritance, which he utilized to pursue his artistic dreams.

In March 1923 he founded the Ramsis Theater Company The troupe would become home to many of ...