Kani - In his father's big footsteps
Atandwa Kani is making waves in world of theatre
NO MATTER how hard he tried, Atandwa Kani could not escape his destiny to follow in his father's footsteps.
The 28-year-old actor and son of veteran actor John Kani is performing with his longtime friend and co-actor Nat Ramabulani in his South African stage debut of the play Hayani.
"Nat and I have always been competitive, usually unintentionally because we would find ourselves auditioning for the same role," Kani said.
The two finally decided to work together and have so far received great media buzz and daily standing ovations at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown last month.
Hayani will also be staged at the Johannesburg Arts Alive Festival from September 1.
Kani is no stranger to the entertainment industry. He grew up in Port Elizabeth going to all his father's shows and accompanying him to functions.
"It was a boring thing to do when I was young and I'd wished I could have been out playing with my friends instead."
But slowly the young Kani developed an interest in the field. He would help his father with his cues at home and attending his father's plays, he learnt about acting and theatrical work.
"I tried so hard not to follow in my father's footprints but after completing Matric found myself knowing nothing but theatre," he said.
He considered architecture and political science but found himself enrolling for a degree in dramatic arts at the University of the Witwatersrand.
"My father wasn't pleased at all and I thought: 'What a hypocrite!'"
But his father was merely concerned about his coping with the struggles of being in the entertainment industry.
Kani completed his honours degree in theatrical performance in 2008 and was awarded the Leon Gluckman Award for Best Research Project.
He continued to prove his father wrong as he achieved great success in television in the UK.
He was involved in a hit series called Wild at Heart.
"I'm actually quite famous in the UK ... more than here in South Africa," he said.
Locally he has been on television in Soul Buddyz and 90 Plein Street .
He said his role in the international play The Tempest, alongside his father, was his scariest ever.
"I was surrounded by actors of such a high calibre as my father and Sir Antony Sher."
Kani hopes to work with his father again in the future.