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Sunday, January 29, 2012


Renowned South African playwright Reza de Wet died in Grahamstown on January 26. The following is the notice posted to the national arts website,

“The de Wet-Reardon family wishes to thank all those who have held Reza in their thoughts and extended their condolences on these pages.

Reza de Wet passed away peacefully in her sleep at 08:00am yesterday, at her home in Grahamstown. De Wet was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of blood cancer or leukaemia in November last year. She received medical treatment locally and was cared for by immediate and extended family. Two days ago de Wet contracted a secondary infection of the lungs; which was the ultimate cause of her death.

With an open and philosophical approach she took leave of those close to her over the last two months. Thus a woman who was remarkable in life, drifted gently off surrounded by loved ones.

Her plays have been produced and performed around the world and prizes and awards for scripts added to her reputation as the most awarded South African playwright.

Theatre figure Professor Temple Hauptfleish wrote of Reza de Wet: ‘Reza de Wet is an internationally renowned playwright and a remarkable phenomenon in the South African theatrical landscape. Since her debut in 1981, de Wet has written plays of outstanding merit: compelling and imaginative works which are highly regarded by academics for their literary qualities and loved by audiences and performers for their sparkling vitality in performance’.

Reza de Wet is survived by Lindsay Reardon, her daughter Nina and two grandchildren. Details of memorial services will be posted in due course.”

KickstArt, KZN’s major theatre producer, presented Reza de Wet’s black comedy, Run to Ground, directed by Greg King at the now sadly defunct Kwasuka Theatre in 2003. The cast included Belinda Harward, Steven Stead, Franz Dobrowski and veteran actress Patti Nokwe. In June 2010, KickstArt presented Miracle, Steven Stead’s translation of de Wet’s Mirakel which ran for a successful season in the Square Space Theatre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

On hearing of her death, Steven Stead commented that de Wet was “a unique and irreplaceable force in South Africa's literary and dramatic world. …Just like one of her characters, she slipped quietly out of this world on a bright, hot summer's day, leaving us disbelieving and dismayed. I hope her spirit is dancing among the thorn trees and aloes on the veld around Grahamstown. All love and respect to a great lady of letters and dreams.”