On Valentines Day the 9th annual KykNet Fiestas were held at a glittering event held in Cape Town.
Recognising outstanding performances and contributions in the Arts, the highlight of the evening was the recognition and awarding of the lifetime achievement award to both John Kani and Sandra Prinsloo.
Both actors, producers, writers have contributed so much to South Africa, but it was the speech delivered by John that has reached people far and wide.
It’s funny, it’s poignant, it’s reflective but more than that it’s a sign of healing. As John says we can truly come together in the creative arts.
Recognition of his lifetime includes Doctorates from the Universities of Cape Town and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, as well as the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver in 2016.
The main theatre of the Market Theatre complex in Newtown, Johannesburg, has been renamed The John Kani Theatre in his honour.
Film has been a big part of his career and recently he played the part of T’Chaka the father of The Black Panther and in the CGI remake of the iconic The Lion King, he is the voice of Rafiki.
For me, this award is personal. I lived in Johannesburg in the eighties and was there when protest theatre raised its head and slowly became a significant movement of change and always you saw the face of John Kani.
I remember the first kiss between a black man, John, and a white woman, Sandra Prinsloo, in the play Othello, and the controversy it caused and the very real possibility of being arrested.
To see these two icons being recognised is almost going full circle but to hear the words of John Kani…that is history.