“I don’t think we’ll (live theatre) be eclipsed by the digital world completely…”

District Six had to die. As a non-racial community it was too successful. Too much joy and too little joylessness for the joyless Apartheid government. And so, the Government began tearing it apart. It is what they did in the 70/80s to similar suburbs that were fully functioning, successful non-racial communities, those like Sophiatown and Cato Manor.

Richard Rive is one of South Africa’s truly great academics and writers. In his novel Buckingham Palace, he portrays life in District Six. Stories so poignant that it has been adapted for stage four times. Once by Rive himself, another by Basil Appollis and a third by Basil and Sylvia Vollenhoven which formed part of the South African Season at Jermyn Street Theatre London.

For a time, Richard Rive’s story dominated Basil’s life, however, there is so much more to learn about Basil. His bursary to study in London, acting in Shakespeare and iconic plays like Adam Smal’s Kanna, Hy kô Hystoe; he is a singing/dancing performer, and has been cast in Kramer-Petersen’s District Six the Musial, toured for two years in Ain’t Misbehavin’, and danced on tour from London to Canada in Take the Floor, (among many others), demonstrating his breadth of talent.

His roots are in the Coloured community of Paarl. In ‘those’ years, when he studied at Cape Town University, he was one of five students of colour permitted into the faculty – one student per year. He tells his story with a sense of irony, a glint, and a rye smile. He is worth hearing.