Athol Fugard 1932–
South African dramatist, novelist, and scriptwriter.
Fugard is South Africa's foremost dramatist. Most of his plays, from The Blood Knot, his first major production, to his most recent, "Master Harold" … and the Boys, deal with the consequences of apartheid. They transcend propagandistic protest by their depth of characterization and their sensitive exploration into the pain of racial injustice. Most critics feel that Fugard attains universality in his plays regardless of their specific South African settings.
Fugard is a multi-talented man of the theater having acted in and directed several of his own plays. Of his many efforts to make theater available to black Africans, the most important resulted in the formation of a nonwhite theater company, the Serpent Players. Sizwe Bansi Is Dead and The Island were written in collaboration with two of the black actors in this company, Winston Ntshona and John Kenil.
Fugard's only novel, Tsoti, written over twenty years ago, has recently been published. While some critics find the transformation of its young black protagonist from a hoodlum into a caring human being unconvincing, most agree that Fugard, a white South African, has once again demonstrated his amazing empathy for the plight of his black compatriots.
(See also CLC, Vols. 5, 9, 14 and Contemporary Authors, Vols. 85-88, rev. ed.)