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Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (5) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (2)

Born in Germiston, South Africa
Died in Vosloorus, South Africa  (natural causes)

Mini Bio (1)

Ken Gampu was one of the first black South Africans to be featured in Hollywood films, working alongside such stars as Edward G. Robinson and Burt Lancaster. A former schoolteacher, law clerk and interpreter, he spoke seven native dialects in addition to English and Afrikaans. Discovered by playwright Athol Fugard, he was cast in the play "No Good Friday" in 1958. In the 60s he moved to films and earned international distinction for his role in the movie adventure Dingaka (1964). He earned excellent notices as well a year later in Cornel Wilde's African adventure The Naked Prey (1965) as a warrior leader. Several of his films have earned cult status with time, including Zulu Dawn (1979) and The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (1)

Violet (? - 4 November 2003) (his death) (2 children)

Trivia (5)

Married with two sons: Ken Jr. and Gatsha.
Became a member of the Screen Actors Guild in 1970.
His first film was the 1960 South-African-made "Tremor" which dealt with the Coalbrook mining disaster.
Was involved in many theatre musicals by Bertha Egnos, including "Dingaka" and "Ipi Tombi," the most successful musical ever staged in South Africa. He was also featured in the jazz opera "King Kong."
Suffered indignities as a black actor in South Africa despite his success in Hollywood. In 1975, he was cast as Lennie in a South African stage production of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men," but was allowed to play the role only after the government gave him permission to share a stage with white actors.

Personal Quotes (2)

I would walk through Joubert Park in Johannesburg and dream about sitting on one of those benches marked Europeans Only.
"For the first time the black man was on an equal footing with the white man, and you know - the heavens didn't fall" - on his role in a 1975 production of 'Of Mice and Men'.

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