Home Lifestyle SA mourns passing of showbiz legend Dawn Avril Lindberg

SA mourns passing of showbiz legend Dawn Avril Lindberg


Theatre legend Dawn Avril Lindburg has died from Covid-19 related complications.

THEATRE legend Dawn Avril Lindberg has passed from Covid-19-related complications.

Lindberg, 75, passed away in hospital in Plettenberg Bay on Monday, December 7.

Lindberg was the CEO and the founder of the Naledi Theatre Awards, one of the biggest and most prestigious theatre awards in South Africa.

On Tuesday, Chris Avant-Smith, the spokesperson for the Naledi Awards, confirmed the news of the thespian’s passing on the Jane Dutton morning show on eNCA.

He said: “Unfortunately, Dawn passed away from Covid-related illness, late last night.”

He continued: “The family is devastated…Being one half of the Des & Dawn Lindberg phenomenon, her husband Des, is still in Plett (Plettenberg Bay) and we’re really sad for him because he wasn’t able to see her towards the end.”

With a career spanning over five decades as a singer, actress and theatre director, Lindberg started her journey in the art space after graduating for Fine Arts at Wits University in the early ’60s.

In 1962, she met her husband and long-time partner in music and theatre, Des Lindberg, and they formed the dynamic folk duo, Des & Dawn.

After tying the knot in 1965, the newlyweds bought a caravan and hit the road for three years, singing in every little town from Bredasdorp, Wakkerstroom and Messina to Bulawayo and Salisbury in Rhodesia (now called Zimbabwe).

Through their music, the couple spoke out against the apartheid regime.

Their first album, “Folk on Trek”, was banned on the grounds of impropriety because of dubious lyrics to the nursery rhyme, ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’, and the Negro Spiritual, ‘Dese Bones Gonna Rise Again’.

In spite of their effort to appeal, they lost the case and all copies of the album were destroyed.

In 1973, they produced the groundbreaking musical, Godspell, the first multiracial show to be staged publicly in South Africa.

Reflecting on Lindberg’s legacy as a theatre practitioner, Avant-Smith said: “Dawn Lindberg was a force of nature, she was really an amazing person and very goal orientated. Along with Des, they were anti-apartheid campaigners especially around the theatre, and way back with their production Godspell, hey managed to integrate performers on stage which was amazing.”

He added: “And subsequently, she started the Naledi Theatre Wards, because of her sheer passion for South African Theatre.

For the last 18 years, it just grew to be the most prestigious and sought after awards that you can get as a performer in South Africa. Her last broadcast was to the SA State Theatre, where she was due to hand out the Naledi Award trophies which were for the musicals and plays, both won by ‘Xova’ and ‘Angola Camp 13’. The key to the Naledi’s is we look for excellence in theatre and that was Dawn’s watch hood was excellence in theatre.”

Lindberg’s theatre achievements included lead roles in “I’m Getting My Act Together”, “Taking It On the Road” and “The Vagina Monologues”. She went on to produce some of the best productions in the South African theatre including “Godspell”, “The Shrew”, “The Black Mikado”, “Gloo Joo” and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Lennon.

Tributes have been pouring in on social media since the news of the Lindburg’s passing broke.

TV producer and presenter Alan Ford paid a sweet tribute to Lindberg. Ford also took the opportunity to urge Mzansi, not to let their guard down as Covid-19 is still out there.

He wrote on Facebook:” My beautiful friend – I can’t believe you have passed away – I spoke to you just last week! You are a legend in the arts and your contribution to our industry was invaluable! I will miss you but will always love you! To Des, Josh, Adam, Zee and all the families my deepest sympathies- MHDSRIP 😭 We love you Dawn Lindberg – Dance and sing with the angels. Please everyone Covid is real – and we have lost another person through it!”

On behalf of Theatre on the Square, Daphne Kuhn wrote: “She will be a huge loss to the industry and will be remembered for many productions and concerts at the theatre – and her presence at opening nights with Des, always at her side.

“Heartfelt condolences to dear Des and cherished memories of their wonderful partnership. We send Des, Josh, Adam and their families, fond love. We wish them courage, strength and comfort at this time of mourning. Sincere condolences from Daphne Kuhn and all the staff at Theatre on the Square.”

Media personality Mandi Strimling wrote: “My dearest Dawn, I am sitting in a puddle of tears, utterly heartbroken by the news of your tragic passing. I know I am not alone in this. I can feel our entire industry’s grief, we’re all a tight-knit community of friends, and this is a loss we all share immensely.”

She added: “Your work in this industry, the legacy of your accomplishments going on 50 years, the heart and soul you put into the Naledi Awards every year without fail, will live on forever, in our hearts and minds. And it will carry on, touching generations to come.

“It’s so hard to imagine this industry, this world, without you in it, Dawn. You just walked this life so lightly, so effortlessly, spreading joy wherever you went. You taught us all the greatest lesson – to live, to laugh, to sing out loud, and to love; fully and without bounds. I will love and miss you forever.”

Radio personality Bridget Masinga wrote: “Devastating to hear of the passing of Dawn Lindberg, founder of the Naledi Awards. Sending condolences to her husband, family, Josh and Zuraida and her beloved grand babies.”

Lindberg is survived by her two children, Joshua and Adam Lindburg, husband Des and their grandchildren.