Guy Willoughby, a man of letters, dies

Guy Willoughby, who died this week of Aids-related complications, was a well-known man of the theatre, academic, cultural commentator and novelist, whose acerbic wit was a source of entertainment to many.

His theatrical work included his one-man play, Major Schittstirrer, a satire on the military that he performed in venues around the country in the late 1980s; the musical African Start!, about Will Schreiner; the multimedia work Looking for a Monster; and the opera of Athol Fugard’s play Valley Song. He adapted South African literature for radio, including Jane Rosenthal’s novel Uncertain Consolations and Douglas Blackburn’s 1908 novel Leaven. His critical work included a study of Oscar Wilde, Art and Christhood—Wilde being an ongoing source of inspiration to Willoughby. He also wrote the novel Archangels, a ‘queer romance” published in 2002, which (along with his former wife Fianoula Dowling’s debut novel) provided many readers with the enjoyable puzzle of identifying key figures in Capetonian literary circles.

He also taught at the Centre for Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town and wrote extensively for many newspapers, including the Mail & Guardian. He was a speechwriter for Tony Leon for a short time.

Shaun de Waal

Shaun de Waal

Shaun de Waal has worked at the Mail & Guardian since 1989. He was literary editor from 1991 to 2006 and chief film critic for 15 years. He is now editor-at-large. Recent publications include Exposure: Queer Fiction, 25 Years of the Mail & Guardian and Not the Movie of the Week. Read more from Shaun de Waal

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