JOHN KANI

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Government Name: Bonisile John Kani

Date of birth: 30 August 1942

Nationality: South African

Bonisile John Kani is a South African actor, director and playwright. He is married to Mandi Kani. His son,  Antandwa Kani, is also an actor, who made his debut on U.S. television on the CW series Life Is Wild, and played a younger version of Kani’s character T’Chaka in Black Panther. Kani joined the Serpent Players (a group of actors whose first performance was in the former snake pit of the zoo, hence the name) in Port Elizabeth in 1965 and helped to create many plays that went unpublished but were performed to a resounding reception.

These were followed by the more famous Sizwe Banzi is Dead and The Island, co-written with Athol Fugard and Winston Ntshona, in the early 1970s. He also received an Olivier Award nomination for his role in My Children! My Africa!Kani’s work has been widely performed around the world, including New York, where he and Winston Ntshona won a Tony Award in 1975 for Sizwe Banzi Is Dead and The Island. These two plays were presented in repertory at the Edison Theatre for a total of 52 performances. On 20 February 2010, Kani received Life Time award (SAFTA Awards). Kani has also received the Avanti Hall of Fame Award from the South African film, television and advertising.

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