Sizwe Banzi is Dead promotional artwork - On the right: A man wearing a brown fedora hat and a cream coloured suit stands behind a golden portrait frame with an image of city skyscrapers in the background behind him. He holds a walking cane in his right hand and has a pipe in his mouth. His eyes are hidden beneath the rim of his hat. On the left: a black gradient overlays the image. Above the gradient, pink neon text reads: 'Sizwe Banzi is Dead'. Smaller white text underneath reads: 'Written by Athol Fugard, John Kani & Winston Ntshona'.
Sizwe Banzi is Dead promotional artwork - On the right: A man wearing a brown fedora hat and a cream coloured suit stands behind a golden portrait frame with an image of city skyscrapers in the background behind him. He holds a walking cane in his right hand and has a pipe in his mouth. His eyes are hidden beneath the rim of his hat. On the left: a black gradient overlays the image. Above the gradient, pink neon text reads: 'Sizwe Banzi is Dead'. Smaller white text underneath reads: 'Written by Athol Fugard, John Kani & Winston Ntshona'.

Sizwe Banzi is Dead

  • Show Information
  • Company

Sometimes you must die so you can live.

A powerful and joyous new production of the seminal play. Port Elizabeth in Apartheid South Africa. Sizwe Banzi, an African worker, has a passbook stating he was supposed to return home three days ago. Without a valid passbook, Sizwe cannot work and therefore cannot support his wife and four children.

After finding a dead body with a passbook valid to work in Port Elizabeth, Sizwe must decide whether his name defines who he is, or should he steal the dead man’s identity in order to provide for his family. As he steps into the photographic studio, he must make that decision.


Did you know that Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona’s original touring production of Sizwe Banzi is Dead came to Exeter nearly 50 years ago this October? We caught up with University of Exeter alumnus Nigel Cutting, who helped stage it at the University’s Drama Department, about how the show found its way to Exeter and why it’s still relevant today.


Sizwe Banzi Is Dead is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Ltd. on behalf of Samuel French Ltd.

Headshot of John Pfumojena

John Pfumojena

Styles / Buntu

Peter Pan – National Theatre/Bristol Old Vic/Troubadour Theatre, The Jungle – The Curran, San Francisco/St Anne’s, Brooklyn/Playhouse Theatre, London/Young Vic

Headshot of Wisdom Iheoma

Wisdom Iheoma

Sizwe Banzi

One Who Wants to Cross – Finborough Theatre, Dinner 18:55 – Leeds Playhouse

Audience guidance:
This performance contains strong language and racial themes.

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