By Rolf Solberg
This is an account of the life and work of Gibson Kente - fondly known to many as 'Bra Gib' - who is widely recognized to be South Africa's foremost black playwright and one of the leading cultural icons of his time. His prolific musical productions, staged between the mid-1960s to 2004, were enthusiastically received by township audiences throughout South Africa. Kente's touring township shows came to define South African township theatre and provided the base from which much black (and other) South African theatre was later to flourish. His work to date has been poorly documented and the records of all but one of his plays were lost in a fire. As the first definitive work on this talented, influential, and controversial man, Bra Gib comes to fill a gap that needed urgent addressing. Presented in two parts, it gives a chronological overview of Kente's plays and the popular and critical reaction to them, and it also includes anecdotal insights into the famous Kente working methods from those who knew and worked with him. Bra Gib offers a fascinating portrait of the multi-faceted man who was a playwright, teacher, musician, and entrepreneur - and does not shrink from engaging the controversies that surrounded Kente.
Publication Date: 9/1/2011