Sunday Profile: Phemelo Motene in conversation with John Kani

Legendary actor, director and playwright Dr John Kani chats to Weekend Breakfast host Phemelo Motene.

He describes how as a young boy, he wanted to be a lawyer.

Radio was very important in those days and there was this programme on Springbok Radio...in the early 60s...called Consider Your Verdict.

John Kani, director, actor and playwight

Until he attended a court case in Port Elizabeth, he laughingly recalls.

It was the dullest funeral happening. People were reading and it was in Afrikaans.

John Kani, director, actor and playwight

He was influenced by his uncle being incarcerated on Robben Island.

I was always that curious child, that child that questioned, that child that was aware of the environment.

John Kani, director, actor and playwight

He grew up in New Brighton township in the Eastern Cape, an area which he says was a foundation of the struggle.

He says many schools in the area were 'so English' and teachers wanted them to speak in the 'Queens English' - though he says laughingly he had never met the Queen.

He says his parents poured every penny into their children's education.

He talks about his wonderful and inspirational journey into acting, playwrighting and directing.

He describes the moment in 1985 when his father introduced him as 'my son, John Kani, the actor' with such pride. Three months later he died.


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