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JOHN KANI is a South African actor, director and playwright. He was most recently seen in the acclaimed drama ENDGAME, and narrated the family nature film THE WHITE LION. Other film credits include: THE WILD GEESE; THE GRASS IS SINGING; MARIGOLDS IN AUGUST; VICTIMS OF APARTHEID; AN AFRICAN DREAM; OPTION; A DRY WHITE SEASON; SARAFINA!; SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE PALACE; KINI AND ADAMS; GHOST AND THE DARKNESS; THE TICHBOURNE CLAIMANT; and THE FINAL SOLUTION. His television credits include the HBO series "The Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency "; the television film 'MASTER HAROLD' AND THE BOYS; the South African series "The Hillside "; and the BBC series "Silent Witness. "

In 1965, Kani joined The Serpent Players, a theater company comprised of black actor-workers. This began an ongoing collaboration with the company's founder, playwright Athol Fugard. Together they created "The Coat, " "The Last Bus, " "Friday's Bread On Monday, " "The Cure " and "The Sellout, " all performed to audiences in the townships. Kani, under Fugard's mentorship also directed most of the Serpent Players productions. In the early 1970s, Kani joined Fugard and Winston Ntshona to co-write the groundbreaking plays "Sizwe Banzi Is Dead " and "The Island. " Kani also starred in the plays, which were subsequently performed on Broadway, earning Kani the 1975 Tony Award for Best Actor. Kani also performed the plays in London, earning an Evening Standard Award nomination for his work.

Kani received international acclaim for his play, "Nothing But the Truth, " in which he also starred. The play premiered in 2003 at Johannesburg's Market Theatre and went on to win numerous awards. It travelled to New York's Lincoln Center Theater, where Kani was honored for his contributions to international theatre by the Harlem Arts Alliance and the New York Theatres. In 2004-2005, "Nothing But the Truth " toured Los Angeles, Boston and Australia. Kani's 2009 film adaptation of the play marked his feature directorial debut, and garnered several festival honors, including the Silver Stallion for Best Picture at FESPACO and the Ecran Dior for Best Picture and Best Director at the Cameroon International Film Festival. Kani was also honored with the inaugural Ousmane Sembene Award from the Ecobank Foundation for his contribution to the advancement of the arts industry in Africa.

Kani has acted in many productions at Johannesburg's Market Theatre, including "The Blood Knot "; "Driving Miss Daisy "; "Othello "; "Sizwe Banzi Is Dead "; "The Island "; "Waiting For Godot "; "My Children My Africa "; and "Hedda Gabler. " He has also directed several plays at the Market Theatre, including "Goree " and "Blues Africa Café " by Matsamela Mnaka and "The Meeting " by Jeff Stetson. His London stage credits include "Waiting for Godot " at the Old Vic; "Master Harold And The Boys " at the Royal National Theatre; "My Children My Africa, " which won him an Olivier Award; and "Playland " at the Donmar Warehouse in the West End. In the early 2000s, he performed in "The Island " at numerous prestigious theaters, including London's Royal National Theatre, Peter Brook's Bouffe Du Nord, in Paris and the Kennedy Centre in New York.

In 1989, together with Barney Simon, Kani founded the Market Theatre Laboratory, a drama school for young people unable to enroll in university programs. The Lab now also has outreach and community training programs and stages Community Festivals annually.

Among his many honors, Kani has received an Honorary Doctorate of Literature from Rhodes University, Grahamstown; the Hiroshima Foundation Award for Peace in Stockholm; and an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Durban Westville. In September 2005, South African President Thabo Mbeki awarded him the Order of Ikhamanga Silver in recognition of for his contributions to a democratic, non-racial, non-sexist South Africa through his work in the arts. He contributions to the arts in South Africa have been honored with lifetime achievement awards from the Arts and Culture Trust, the Nelson Mandela Metropole of Port Elizabeth, and the South Africa Film and Television Institute; in addition he a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Turquoise Harmony Institute for his contribution to peace through dialogue in South Africa.


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