John Kani turns 76 today. To celebrate his birthday, Briefly.co.za gathered a few quick facts about the talented international actor.
He was born in 1943 in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth.
2. Early work
After finishing high school, Kani went to work at the Ford Motor Company. But it was his love for drama that saw him eventually join the Serpent Players drama group.
3. A Tony winner
The decorated actor is a Tony award receipient. The award is handed out in America for outstanding work in theatre productions on Broadway. In 1974, Kani went on tour with 'Sizwe Banzi is Dead' and 'The Island'. He achieved international recognition when he and Winston Ntshona were awarded a Tony for best actor for both plays.
4. His life was threatened multiple times
In 1982, a performance of Miss Julie in Cape Town saw half the theatre walk out after Kani’s character kissed a white woman. He received multiple threats after this and survived an assassination attempt where he was stabbed 11 times.
5. Honorary Doctorates
Dr Kani has been presented with two honorary doctorates.The first from the University of KWaZulu Natal and the other from the University of Cape Town.
6. Making isiXhosa global
After he and his son landed roles in the hugely successful Black Panther movie, the pair convinced film director Ryan Coogler to make isiXhosa the official language of Wakanda.
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