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Saturday, May 1, 2021


(Above: Ronnie Govender. Photo by Dr Eubulus Timothy)

eThekwini Living Legend, acclaimed and awarded actor, director, playwright and author, Ronnie Govender (formerly of Durban) died in Cape Town on April 29. He had battled with dementia, diabetes and heart problems over the years.

The following is a statement from Vanashree and movie mogul Anant Singh on his passing.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of renowned author and playwright, Ronnie Govender.

Ronnie was a man for all seasons – a journalist, political activist, playwright and author. He took his inspiration from the ‘Indian experience’ of apartheid South Africa and immortalized this rich cultural and social tapestry in his many works.

We remember his seminal stage play, The Lahnee's Pleasure which was based on characters in a hotel in apartheid South Africa. It became one of South Africa’s longest running plays, and played to capacity audiences around the country. In a bold political statement, he wrote Off Side as a parody which took aim at those who participated in the House of Delegates in the Tricameral Parliament of the 1980s, and followed it with the sequel Inside.

At the Edge and Other Cato Manor Stories was a brilliant account of life in the cultural melting pot that was Cato Manor. This play travelled to the prestigious Edinburgh Festival and he was recognized with the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for this work.

Having known him since the 1970’s, we spent memorable evenings in his company when he ran the Aquarius Restaurant in Reservoir Hills. Due to limited theatre venues for Indians in those days, he opened up the Aquarius as a theatre venue to stage his plays and that of fellow playwrights, making it one of the most popular entertainment venues of the time.

We have lost a prolific writer and a true son of the soil.

We send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends and wish them strength during this difficult time.

Vanashree and Anant Singh


The following is a tribute from Dr Eubulus Timothy

Today (April 29, 2021) at 5:30 pm I lost a friend, mentor and South Africa lost one of its great wordsmiths. Dr Ronnie Govender, Order Of Ikhamengha, South Africa’s highest award in the Arts.

When he entered a room, you knew Ronnie had arrived. He was a man of presence, tall, elegant, handsome, funny, witty, naughty. Ronnie was a man of character, with great insight, never shy to take on injustices with vivid reality, change our world for the better.

Ronnie bravely tackled entrenched shibboleth specifically within the South Africa Indian community because he was extraordinary litterateur of vivid tales that was always well thought out.

Of his work, At The Edge, Stage and TV Today, London, said, “ … a hymn to humanity.

He wanted to talk to me four days ago but i missed him… forever.

Ronnie wrote to me once: “If it’s under control, it’s ok”.

Dr Eubulus Timothy


Ronnie Govender’s final journey will take place on Monday at 14h00 at The Maitland Crematorium in Cape Town.