Anti-apartheid activist and South African musical legend David Kramer full interview

Anti-apartheid activist and South African musical legend David Kramer full interview

David Kramer is a songwriter, singer, playwright and director. He is best known for his early opposition of the apartheid regime and his musicals about Cape coloured communities. 

David Kramer

David Kramer began his musical career in the mid 1970's as a singer/songwriter. He performed satirical songs at folk clubs and campus concerts across South Africa.


His first album BAKGAT! was banned by the SABC because of its political satire, the use of coarse language and the mixing of languages. 


Rian had a surprise for David Kramer. He got 9 year old Luthando Jackson to play David Kramer’s “Royal Hotel” on his guitar.

David spoke about how he focused on small town South Africa and employed a persistent realism and dark satire to tell his stories and to describe his characters. It was also here that he pioneered the use of Cape Afrikaans and English in his lyrics.


In his performances, he portrayed himself as a man from the rural areas who traveled the dusty roads of small town South Africa with an old bicycle and a cheap guitar.


David is a storyteller who has written and directed a number of successful musicals that have been recognised both nationally and internationally for almost forty years.


David's opposition of apartheid has landed him and his music in hot water in the past. This was because of his unique style of singing that was not appreciated by all who heard it.


Some of his solo work includes an Afrikaans musical, “Die Ballade Van Kook Sas”, which explores the trade of “Bushmen” skeletons during the early 1900s.


“Die Ballade Van Kook Sas”, was the first musical to be performed in Afrikaans on a British stage.

This storyteller went on to talk about his new musical and how an African American group who were on tour in the Cape, influenced him in his later works and about how he made ex-president Paul Kruger cry. 

He is currently working on a new musical called 'Orpheus in Africa' which will be performed at the Fugard Theatre.

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