national Arts Festival Banner

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Memorial service for acclaimed writer, actor and award-winning journalist to take place in Johannesburg on September 19.

A memorial service for John Anthony Matshikiza, South African writer, actor and award-winning journalist, will be held at the Bassline in Newtown, Johannesburg on September 19 at 12h00. All who wish to pay their respects and celebrate the life of this extraordinary man are invited to attend.

Matshikiza died on the evening of the 15th of September 2008, after suffering a massive heart attack at a restaurant in Melville, Johannesburg, where paramedics were unable to resuscitate him. He was aged 53.

As an artist he was extremely generous and talented, and known for his diverse range of creative influences. As a human being he will be remembered for his warmth, wit and curiosity about the world. John made a huge impact in the lives of many South Africans and will be sorely missed.

The shock of his passing has rendered the Matshikiza family unable to grant interviews to the press at this time. The family have expressed their deepest thanks for the flood of sympathy and love that has come from all corners of the country and of the world.

Matshikiza was born in Johannesburg in 1954, lived in Zambia and London where he performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company, The National Theatre, and on top stages all over the United Kingdom. It was during this time that he worked on films such as Cry Freedom and Dust.

In 1992, Matshikiza moved back to South Africa after 20 years of exile and began establishing himself as an actor, playwright and director. As well as his involvement in the theatre and film industry, he was also acclaimed as a columnist for the Mail and Guardian and, most recently, The Weekender. He will be remembered by many as a challenging artist, a controversial character and a brilliant intellectual.

Notice issued by The Matshikiza Family