Prized author’s work brought to life on stage

7de Laan starts Zane Meas and Christo Davids present Van Wyk – The Storyteller of Riverlea at the Baxter Flipside from Wednesday June 12 to Saturday June 29.

Created and performed by Meas, The Storyteller of Riverlea explores the life of renowned South African author Chris van Wyk – his influence as a poet and a writer and as a political activist, as well as his family life and his battle with cancer.

This production, directed by Christo Davids, pays homage to Van Wyk’s humour, political values and storytelling abilities.

Meas and Davids both performed as Van Wyk in Janice Honeyman’s adaptation of Shirley, Goodness and Mercy.

The Storyteller of Riverlea marks the fifth collaboration between the two soapie stars, in a partnership that spans 12 years.

Van Wyk grew up Riverlea, just south of Johannesburg – a community which he later brought to life in Shirley, Goodness and Mercy (2004) and Eggs to Lay, Chickens to Hatch (2010).

He adapted Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom into a book for young readers and wrote a series of short biographies of liberation struggle figures for school children.

A Message in the Wind, published in 1982, won the Maskew Miller Longman Award for Children’s Literature. His memoirs pay extensive tribute to the strong and resourceful women in his family and community, particularly his mother (the “Shirley” of the title) and grandmother.

In 1979, Van Wyk published one of the most-quoted anti-apartheid poems, In Detention, which appeared in the collection It is Time to Go Home and for which he received the Olive Schreiner Prize.

In 1996 he received the Sanlam Prize for the best South African short story for Magic.

Van Wyk died in October 2014, at the age of 57.

The production runs at the Baxter Flipside from Wednesday June 12 to Saturday June 29, at 7.30pm. Tickets cost R120 from Mondays to Wednesdays, R150 from Thursdays to Saturdays and R100 for pupils, students and for block-bookings of 10 or more. Book through Webtickets or Pick * Pay stores.

For discounted school or group block bookings, fundraisers or charities, contact Sharon Ward on 021 680 3962 or email