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Jan. 5: School of Drama Announces Visit by Acclaimed Artist John Kani


Eric Sloss

Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama Announces Visit
By Acclaimed Artist and Humanitarian John Kani

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama will host renowned actor, artistic director, playwright and humanitarian John Kani from Monday, Jan. 15, through Friday, Jan. 19.    

Kani will deliver the lecture "Embracing Reconciliation: The Meaning of 'Ubuntu' in the New South Africa," at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 16 in the Philip Chosky Theater. After a lifetime of personally experiencing the political violence of apartheid, Kani will candidly share his struggle to embrace South Africa's new policy of truth and reconciliation. While confessing his lingering outrage over the country's legacy of white supremacy, Kani will explain how he came to embrace Desmond Tutu's call for "ubuntu," which means having self-respect through respect for others.    

"The School of Drama seeks to bring diverse artists of stature to enrich the lives and education of our students and the Pittsburgh community," said Elizabeth Bradley, head of the School of Drama. "Kani represents the ultimate fulfillment of that mission. He is an artist dissident, an extraordinary humanitarian, and master actor, director and playwright. As someone who consistently risked his life to practice his art, his example demonstrates the transformative power of the theater and of the contribution of a singular individual," Bradley said.

An internationally acclaimed theater artist, Kani won a Tony Award for his 1975 performance in "The Island," a play he co-authored with Athol Fugard. Later, he reached a wider audience through his work with Matthew Broderick in Fugard's film "'Master Harold' ... And the Boys." He was the first post-apartheid artistic director of the Johannesburg Market Theatre, South Africa's most respected theater company, and this past year appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of "Hamlet" in the United Kingdom. Kani is routinely called "the embodiment of South African theater."

The Kani visit is presented in association with the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. For more information, contact Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765 or