|Name John Kani|
|Spouse Mandi Kani|
Children Atandwa Kani
|Born 30 August 1943 (age 72) (1943-08-30) New Brighton, Eastern Cape, South Africa|
Notable work Order of Ikhamanga in Silver
Books Nothing But the Truth, Sizwe Bansi is Dead and The Island
Plays Sizwe Banzi Is Dead, The Island
Movies Nothing but the Truth, The Ghost and the Darkness, Sarafina!, Wild Geese, Coriolanus
Similar People Winston Ntshona, Athol Fugard, Atandwa Kani, Kenneth Griffith, Stephen Hopkins
Breakfast with Dr. John Kani
Bonisile John Kani (born 30 August 1943) is a South African actor, director and playwright.
- Breakfast with Dr John Kani
- Africa 360 john kani exclusive
- Personal life
- Other recognition and awards
- Film and television
Africa 360 john kani exclusive
Kani joined the Serpent Players (a group of actors whose first performance was in the former snake pit of the zoo, hence the name) in Port Elizabeth in 1965 and helped to create many plays that went unpublished but were performed to a resounding reception.
These were followed by the more famous Sizwe Banzi is Dead and The Island, co-written with Athol Fugard and Winston Ntshona, in the early 1970s. He also received an Olivier Award nomination for his role in My Children! My Africa!
Kani's work has been widely performed around the world, including New York, where he and Winston Ntshona won a Tony Award in 1975 for Sizwe Banzi Is Dead and The Island. These two plays were presented in repertory at the Edison Theatre for a total of 52 performances.
Nothing but the Truth (2002) was his debut as sole playwright and was first performed in the Market Theatre in Johannesburg. This play takes place in post-apartheid South Africa and does not concern the conflicts between whites and blacks, but the rift between blacks who stayed in South Africa to fight apartheid, and those who left only to return when the hated regime folded. It won the 2003 Fleur du Cap Awards for best actor and best new South African play. In the same year he was also awarded a special Obie award for his extraordinary contribution to theatre in the United States.
Kani is executive trustee of the John Kani Theatre Foundation, founder and director of the John Kani Theatre Laboratory and chairman of the National Arts Council of SA. He starred as King T'Chaka in the Marvel studios blockbuster Captain America: Civil War and will reprise that role in Black Panther.
In August 2017, Kani had been cast to perform the voice of Rafiki in the 2019 CGI live action remake of The Lion King directed by Jon Favreau.
Other recognition and awards
On 20 February 2010, Kani received Life Time award (SAFTA Awards). Kani has also received the Avanti Hall of Fame Award from the South African film, television and advertising industries, an M-Net Plum award and a Clio award in New York. Other awards include the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation Award for the year 2000 and the Olive Schreiner Prize for 2005. He was voted 51st in the Top 100 Great South Africans in 2004. In 2006, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Cape Town. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Philosophy in 2013.
In 2016 Kani received the national honour of the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver, for his "Excellent contributions to theatre and, through this, the struggle for a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa".
The main theatre of the Market Theatre complex in Newtown, Johannesburg, has been renamed The John Kani Theatre in his honour.