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Zakes Mokae Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (11) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 5 August 1934Johannesburg, Union of South Africa [now South Africa]
Date of Death 11 September 2009Las Vegas, Nevada, USA  (complications of a stroke)
Birth NameZakes Makgona Mokae

Mini Bio (1)

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa,actor Zakes Mokae was trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and became one of the most distinguished thespians in South Africa for over two decades. Mokae was one of the few actors capable of crossing the divided racial sections, punctuated by his collaborations with white writer Athol Fugard. Together they founded the radical theater group The Rehearsal Room in the 50s that specifically dealt with his country's injustices. In fact, over the years his performances in "The Blood Knot," "Boesman and Lena," "A Lesson from Aloes" and "Master Harold...and the Boys," have been universally applauded. He fled the racist apartheid policies in South Africa in 1969 and migrated to America, subsequently winning a Tony award in 1982 for "Master Harold..." and proceeded to perform in American films to somewhat lesser acclaim, including A Dry White Season (1989), A Rage in Harlem (1991) and Waterworld (1995). He has lately been directing on stage.

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

Spouse (2)

Madelyn Mokae (5 August 1985 - 11 September 2009) (his death)
Madelyn Mokae (1966 - 25 January 1978) (divorced)

Trivia (11)

Directed a production of August Wilson's "Fences" in 1999.
First went to London in 1961 when his country blocked his acting career.
Founded the Black Actors Theater in San Francisco with actor Danny Glover in 1980.
Started out as a saxophonist with the Trevor Huddleston Jazz Band.
Took up acting after meeting white playwright Athol Fugard and they worked together creating plays.
Won Broadway's 1982 Tony Award as Best Actor (Featured Role - Play) for his role as Sam in Athol Fugard's "'Master Harold'... and the Boys," a portrayal he recreated in the television version of the same title, 'Master Harold'... and the Boys (1985). He was also Tony-nominated in the same category in 1993 for "The Song of Jacob Zulu."
Divorced wife Madelyn in 1978 after 12 years of marriage. They remarried in 1985. They have one daughter, Santlo Chontay Mokae, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Had no previous acting experience before forming a professional bond with playwright Athol Fugard, who was white.
Was jailed several times as a young man in Johannesburg during the corrosive times of racial separatism in his country.
In 2005, he and his wife returned to the States from Capetown and settled in Las Vegas in order to seek better medical care for his Parkinson's disease.
He died at his home in Las Vegas from complications of a stroke he had on May 6, 2009. He also had previously received diagnoses of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

Personal Quotes (1)

If you're a black man in South Africa and you've never been in prison, there's something wrong with you.

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