Auditorium named after playwright
A HIGHER education institution has named an auditorium after awardwinning playwright, author and legend of the South African theatre industry, Ronnie Govender.
The Ronnie Govender Auditorium was unveiled on Monday at the UNI4 Global Edtech Centre in Westville.
Govender, 86, died last week in Cape Town. He developed age related dementia over the last year.
He had written and directed a number of plays, some of which were box office hits. He had also written books. The South African Government had conferred the Order of Ikhamanga on Govender “for [his] excellent contribution to democracy and justice in South Africa through the genre of theatre”.
The auditorium was unveiled after Govender’s funeral was live streamed on Monday afternoon at the venue. It was attended by some of his close friends who celebrated his life.
Uni4 is a technology company, pioneering the future of higher education through the use of design, thinking and innovative technologies.
It is led by Leo Chetty, an entrepreneur, who creates education platforms and student experiences. He said they had always envisioned naming the auditorium after Govender.
“He and I were involved in a project
to set up different theatres around Durban, but in the last year he started to get ill. We wanted to honour Ronnie and keep his legacy alive,” he said.
Chetty said their family had a long history with Govender.
“We spent a lot of quality time with him over the last 20 years. We had always been a patron of his.”
He said the 100-seater auditorium, in a new building, was set up for technology education.
Jayshree Parasuramen, actress and radio presenter, addressed Govender’s close friends at the unveiling.
“Ron’s description of anything, be it in a play or a poem that he wrote or if he was just telling you a story, you could picture it in your mind.
“I have been saying this a few times since Ron’s passing that for me a library closes and in the theatre industry a giant tree has fallen,” said Parasuramen, who also read some of his work.
Anand Pillay, Govender’s long time friend who attended the unveiling, said it was a brilliant idea naming the auditorium as it gave recognition to his immense contribution to the Struggle, literature and theatre in the country.
“It was unfortunate that his presence couldn’t grace the occasion,” said Pillay.
Govender’s daughter, Pregs Govender, said the family extended their thanks to Chetty for honouring his memory in such an appropriate way.