5 reasons why Winston Ntshona's death has left Mzansi heartbroken

A theatre great has fallen!

02 August 2018 - 15:03 By Chrizelda Kekana
The late Winston Ntshona with Athol Fugard and John Kani.
The late Winston Ntshona with Athol Fugard and John Kani.

South Africans have been in a state of mourning ever since the death of veteran playwright and actor, Winston Ntshona was confirmed on Thursday. 

The iconic theatre great and anti-apartheid activist died at the age 76, after being ill for eight years. 

The actor's contribution to the South African entertainment industry is immeasurable.

While most young people may be familiar with his more recent gigs such as his cameo appearance on The Heartlines: Grace and The Heartlines: The Bet, Winston has been shaping talent and creating amazing content for over five decades.

Winston started his career in 1965 when he formed the Serpent Players in Port Elizabeth with playwright Athol Fugard and actor John Kani. From there, the pair created pioneering South African plays.

While there are a million reasons why Mzansi is heartbroken over Winston's death, the creative industry has particularly lost a great mentor.

Here are five reasons why Mzansi is in mourning: 

1. Winston helped shape the careers of many people who have since become stars in their own right in Mzansi and the world.

Actors like Sello Maake ka Ncube, Owen Sejake and Thembi Mtshali have been inspired and some of them even personally mentored by the theatre great.

2. Winston is responsible for some of the most amazing theatre plays to come out of SA.

Plays such as Sizwe Banzi Is Dead and The Island were created by him. 

3. Winston's work with John Kani on stage achieved global recognition.

Both have won numerous awards for their contribution to theatre, including Broadway’s prestigious Tony Award in 1975 for writing and acting Sizwe Banzi Is Dead.

4. As an anti-apartheid activist, Winston's effort played a big part in letting the world know of the situation in South Africa during the liberation struggle through art.

In 2010 Winston was among the recipients of the National Orders Awards. The actor was honoured in the category of Ikhamanga, together with the late City Press editor Percy Qoboza. At the time, former president Jacob Zuma said Winston used the stage to expose life under apartheid to the world.

5. As an actor, Winston always gave great performances.

He poured his heart into every character he played.