Athol Fugard by Dennis Walder (auth.)

By Dennis Walder (auth.)

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Fugard's passport was taken away in 1967, 'for reasons of state safety and security', the day after a performance of The Blood Knot on British television. He did not cease work; nor leave the country on a one-way 'ekit. permit' , which is what he feIt the authorities were after. Irlstead, he 26 Career and Personal Influences continued to write, direct and perform; and to speak out against what he saw was wrong. He had initiated an international playwrights' boycott of South Africa in 1963, to provoke a response from local theatre managements who had accepted segregated audiences before being forced to do so by law; but when such legislation was introduced he reversed his tactics on the ground, he said, that keeping South Africans isolated from the ideas of the 'free West' was just what the government wanted.

Like Fugard, he is obsessed with the possibility of love in a hate-ridden country. Unlike Fugard, Versfeld is a deeply committed Christian. Fugard's lifelong interest in Camus began at this time, as did his interest in the evolutionary theories of Darwin and T. H. Huxley (explicit in Statements after an Arrest). If the subjects of study were important to him at Cape Town, gaining a degree was not - or so he decided two months before his finals when, in 1953, with Perseus Adams, a fellow student who was to become a poet, he set off to hitch-hike up Africa with f60 and ten tins of sardines.

If the subjects of study were important to him at Cape Town, gaining a degree was not - or so he decided two months before his finals when, in 1953, with Perseus Adams, a fellow student who was to become a poet, he set off to hitch-hike up Africa with f60 and ten tins of sardines. After crossing the Congo and Tanganyika (Tanzania), they reached Juba, Sudan, where they separated, and Fugard signed on as a deckhand on the British trampsteamer SS Graigaur, at a shilling a day. From the Malacca Straits he wrote to his mother, 'I am busy on the completion of the novel started in Cape Town ....

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