A bust of South African literary giant Adam Small was unveiled at Artscape Theatre Centre as part of Reconciliation Day celebrations. It was donated by the Stigting vir Bemagtiging deur Afrikaans (SBA) as a symbolic gesture in reclaiming a theatre that was previously reserved exclusively for the use of “Whites Only”, where even Small’s work was performed by a white-only cast. The bust was designed by Johannes du Plessis.

The unveiling ceremony was officiated by the University of the Western Cape’s Professor Juliana Smith, who respresented Small’s widow, Rosalie, and Artscape’s CEO Marlene Roux.

The unveiling is historic and a step in the right direction. Reconciliation Day is not only about peace. It is to confront our past and tell stories, where we come from and as South Africans all of us must have a commitment to understand and recognise the pain of being marginalised and dehumanised“, le Roux underscored.

Meanwhile during the month of December the Afrikaans titled exhibition:  Adam Small;  Digter, skrywer en menseregte stryder will be showcased in the Marble Foyer Extension – an initiative support by Artscape’s Archives and curated by our Archivist, Celeste Reynolds.

In 1996, Prof Small  was appointed as Chairperson of the then Cape Performing Arts Board (CAPAB). His ties to the institution, however, reaches much further back when the renowned and ever-popular Kanna Hy Kô Hystoe drama was performed during 1974 – which would later pave the way as one of the catalysts to allow all races onto the premises of the then Nico Malan Theatre in 1975 – a first in South Africa.

Prof. Michael le Cordeur and guests peruse the Adam Small Archival exhibition
Sandra Kotze who played the first Makiet in Adam Small’s Kanna Hy Kô Hystoe in 1974 toasts the Adam Small Archival exhibition

Small was born in Wellington on December 21, 1936. His family later moved to Goree outside Robertson where his father was a teacher. He studied for a degree in languages and philosophy at UCT and received an MA cum laude on the philosophy of Nicolai Hartmann and Friedrich Nietzsche. He served as University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) first head of the Department of Philosophy from 1960, left UWC in 1973 and returned as the head of the Department of Social Work in 1984 until his retirement in 1997. UWC conferred on him an honorary doctorate in 2001.