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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Famed Afrikaans writer and playwright PG du Plessis has died; made massive contribution to South African television and film over several decades.


The famed Afrikaans writer and playwright PG du Plessis, responsible for several hit South African TV shows in the earlier decades of the SABC and who had made an immense contribution to South African television and to Afrikaans drama and literature over several decades died on Wednesday afternoon. He was 82.

PG (Pieter Georg) du Plessis suffered from prostate cancer since 2010, but the exact cause of death is not known. He died in Wednesday afternoon in the MooiMed hospital in Potchefstroom.

As usual, there was no statement or acknowledgement on Wednesday from the SABC about PG du Plessis or his decades long, and massive contribution to South Africa's public broadcaster and to South African television.

PG du Plessis, besides a litany of dramas and books, in SA television terms will always be remembered for TV series like his talk show on the SABC's erstwhile TV1 channel, P.G. gesels met… and he appeared on screen as the other half in the popular Afrikaans talker Spies & Plessis.

Even in P.G. Gesels met... PG du Plessis would push the boundaries of what was deemed "acceptable" during the Apartheid-SABC era, for instance interviewing Justus Chungu and telling South Africans with TV sets that he's talking to "a black man as my guest in an Afrikaans talk show".

His short stories Ko√∂perasiestories was likewise transformed into a hit as a similarly titled Afrikaans TV series, with both Spies & Plessis and Ko√∂perasiestories that saw multiple repeats across the SABC over many years, and was again shown on the SABC's library-channel SABC Encore (DStv 156) running on MultiChoice's DStv.

It was the success of Ko√∂perasiestories that led him to establish his own production company, Sommatel.

Several of PG du Plessis' Afrikaans plays were filmed like Siener in die Suburbs and 'n Seder Val in Waterkloof and broadcast on SABC television and even SABC radio, and he wrote several radio dramas - all of which received numerous accolades and prizes of several years.

PG du Plessis made a massive contribution to not just the SABC as South Africa's public broadcaster, but to South African television and the local TV industry.

His first TV drams series, Anderkant Sesriem, told the story of a young man's experiences in the Namib desert and his single drama 'n Rand ’n droom won the SABC prize for Afrikaans TV-drama in 1978.

PG du Plessis wrote the TV series TJ7, Maplotters, Andries Plak, Dryfsand and Feast of the uninvited (a reworking from his book Fees van die ongenooides).

He reworked the Mikro stories into the script for the hugely successful, often repeated TV series Mattewis en Meraai on TV1, as well as Pandjieswinkelstories on kykNET (DStv 144).

In film he wrote the scripts for Nag van die 19deLiewe hemel, GenisWeerskant die nag and the Bles Bridges biopic The devil and the song.

Besides the novelist's TV and film writing work, the profilic PG du Plessis who was also an academic, journalist, editor and teacher and enriched South African and Afrikaans literature with numerous books, short stories, plays and opinion-editorial pieces.