national Arts Festival Banner

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


(Patty Nokwe)

Patty Nokwe, musician and performer and recipient of an eThekwini Living Legend Award, passed away on February 18, 2018, having made a major contribution to the music and theatre scene in South Africa.

Born in Eshowe on 26 June, 1931, she attended St Michaels School where she participated in the school choir and studied further at M L Sultan Technikon. She married the late playwright and musician Alfred Nokwe in 1954. Their two children, Tu and Marilyn, are also musically talented and are well-known on the music scene.

Nokwe’s vocal talents were noticed when she auditioned for the SABC choir; she impressed Madame Davi to such an extent that she offered to train her for free. Nokwe performed in a number of musicals including Run to the Ground; Sing the Times and the biographical My Voice My Life. She also performed internationally.

With the help of the Hare Krishna Society, Nokwe contributed to feeding her community on a weekly basis. She continued to conduct singing and dance lessons for many years and was a member of the Sibongiseni Club which caters for the elderly.

Director Murray McGibbon states: “I had the great pleasure of directing her and Alfred in Guess Who's Coming To Dinner? at the Playhouse .... one of our most successful productions when it was not kosher to go there. We played several seasons in Durban and also at the Hex in Pietermaritzburg. Somewhere I have letter from then President De Klerk saying how much he had enjoyed it. Patty and Alfred were stalwarts and will be sadly missed. MTDSRIP.”

DUT Professor Debbie Lutge says: “It is with a deep sense of loss and sorrow that the Department of Drama and Production Studies received the news of the passing of theatre icon Patty Nokwe. We offer sincere condolences to the Nokwe family, as well as our deepest sympathies to Jerry Pooe who worked on many DUT productions with Patty Nokwe. She will be sadly missed.”