“How do you put a nation’s history on stage?”
In this remarkable play, John Kani – as formidable a writer as he is an actor – does it through a confrontation between two men who represent polarised aspects of the South African experience. Marking 25 years since the country’s first post-apartheid democratic elections, the play becomes an exploration of race, class, politics, theatre, and the potentially unifying power of Shakespeare.
Directly from the West End at the Ambassador Theatre in London, Kunene and the King makes its return to South African theatres with performances commencing at the Joburg Theatre from 27 May.

Penned by actor and playwright Dr. John Kani, Kunene and the King is set 25 years after the country’s first post-apartheid democratic elections and tackles head-on the personal implications of the supposed new equality. Listed among the top 10 best plays produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 60 years. John Kani was presented with the Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday Award in 2021.

“Michael Richard plays Jack Morris, a cantankerous old actor who hopes to overcome severe liver cancer to get to Cape Town to play King Lear. Kani himself is Lunga Kunene, a retired career assigned by an agency to tend this querulous thespian. While claiming to be apolitical, Morris embodies the reflex attitudes of white supremacy and consistently, when talking to Kunene, refers to “you people”. Although refusing to be a spokesman, Kunene recounts how his own dreams of being a doctor were thwarted, not so much by his Soweto upbringing as by the vengefulness of “comrades” towards his storekeeper father for seeking to transcend the divisions of the apartheid era.”
– Michael Billington, 2019

This rich and raw exploration of race, class, and politics will be staged at The Mandela at Joburg Theatre from 27 May until 19 June 2022. Kindly note that persons under the age of 15 will not be allowed into the show.

Book here: https://www.joburgtheatre.com/kunene-and-the-king/

Joburg Theatre
Date: 27 May – 19 June 2022

Tickets: R300 | R450

Age Restriction: No under 15s