……BY BILLY SUTER……
COVID-19 claimed another star of South African theatre last night when Dawn Lindberg, legendary singer, actress, theatre entrepreneur and the founder and chief executive officer of the national Naledi Theatre Awards, died from a Coronavirus-related illness.
This news follows the deaths in recent days of popular South African-based singer-actors Malcolm Terrey and Graham Weir and, more recently, former Sunday Tribune theatre critic Graham Greer.
Born Dawn Avril Silver in 1945, in Durban, Lindberg was presented with the Women: The Real Architects of Society Awards (WRASA) Drama Excellence Award in 2017. This was to acknowledge and honour her 51 years in theatre then.
She first found fame as a member of Des and Dawn, the folk duo she formed with husband Des Lindberg in the 1960s. They had a string of hits – most notably, The Seagull’s Name Was Nelson.
The couple moved on to cabaret, TV shows and theatre production with their company Folk on Trek Productions and went on to perform in virtually every major theatre and cabaret venue in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
In the 1970s the Lindbergs put in a tender for the theatre that was to be built in the old Newtown produce market, but lost to Mannie Manim and Barney Simon, who went on to found the Market Theatre.
Dawn’s theatre achievements included lead roles in I’m Getting My Act Together, Taking It On the Road and The Vagina Monologues. Her producing and directing successes included Godspell, Pippin, The Shrew, The Black Mikado, Gloo Joo, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Lennon.
Tributes arising from the theatre world’s loss are flooding social media. Singer-actor and entrepreneur Richard Loring, wrote: “No condolences will be enough to pay tribute to a remarkable woman from the South African world of theatre, who I knew and worked with for over 50 years.”
Ismail Mahomed wrote: “Devastated! RIP Dawn Lindberg. You have given to South African showbiz like no other. Your spirit shall live on!”
Singer Amanda Strydom wrote: “Dearest Dawn, you were a national treasure. RIP. I cannot believe that you are gone. What a cruel, merciless year.”
Rudi Sadler wrote: “Could not sleep after the devastating and absolutely sad news of the passing of Dawn Lindberg. You were a driving force behind theatre recognition and passionate about the industry. Fortunate to have known and work with you on the Naledi panel for many years. You will be sorely missed.”
Dawn Lindberg is survived by her husband Des and sons Josh and Adam.
Note: This article will be updated when funeral and/or memorial service plans are announced.