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Hiroshima Award for SA Playwright

13 February 2018

Mike van Graan is a multiple award-winning South African playwright, professor and cultural activist who has been awarded the 2018 Hiroshima prize.

Ms Hedda Krausz, Cultural Attaché of the Embassy of Sweden in South Africa hosted a reception on 8 February 2018 to honour Mike van Graan.


Photo: (l-r) Greg Homann, Mike van Graan, Suzanne Osten and Hedda Krausz


The guests included many of Van Graan's peers, who he paid tribute to saying that although he has been awarded the prize, much of what he has done would not have been possible without many of those 'comrades, friends, mates, actors' who were present at the reception. He said that although he received the award from abroad, it means so much more to him that his peers from his own country recognise the value of his work.



Van Graan was given the award by Suzanne Osten, Swedish theatre and film director and board member of the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation, and Christina Björk former CEO of Swedish Public Educational Radio.


Photo: Christina Björk addressing guests

Upon receiving the award Mike van Graan recognised Suzanne as an amazing artist and film maker in her own right and Christina for her valuable role in developing the arts. Christina and Van Graan met in the 1980's when Christina facilitated funds to support arts organisations like the National Arts Coalition, which Van Graan helped to develop, that played an influential role in bringing about new policies in the arts and culture space.

The evening included an excerpt of Brothers in Blood by Mike van Graan, performed by David Dennis and Conrad Kemp and directed by Greg Homann (this play was translated into Swedish and was performed in Boras). The poignant excerpt of the play was steeped in religious arrogance and racial prejudice.

The multi-talented Daniel Mpilo Richards performed sketches from Pay Back the Curry and State Fracture by Mike van Graan. The play was directed by Rob van Vuuren and produced by Siv Ngesi. Mpilo expertly enacted multiple characters and accents, played the guitar and sang and left the audience awe-struck and in stitches. While the excerpts from the plays were hilariously absurd, drawing from South African politics, they were thought-provoking.

About the Hiroshima Award

The Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture recognizes van Graans struggle against apartheid, his contributions for bringing peace and understanding in the post-apartheid South Africa, and not least  his important studies of the interface between culture and peace in contemporary Africa. van Graan is also a dedicated and widely recognized playwright, awarded for his plays addressing the social and political issues of the post-apartheid South Africa.

The Edita and Ira Morris Foundation was established 1989 in the honor of the Swedish author and peace activist Edita Morris (1902-1988), vividly committed to the peace movement and specifically famous for portraying the disastrous aftermath of the atomic bombs in Japan. The aim of the Hiroshima prize is to support and acknowledge those who continue the struggle for peace in the spirit of Edita Morris.




February/March 2020








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