Athol Fugard

Athol Fugard is a renowned South African playwright, novelist, actor, and director known for his works that explore the social and political issues of apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa. His plays often focus on the struggles of ordinary people and are celebrated for their powerful storytelling and deep humanism.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. The Blood Knot

    "The Blood Knot" is a powerful play that explores the complex relationship between two half-brothers, Morris and Zachariah, who live together in a small shack in apartheid-era South Africa. Morris, who is light-skinned, dreams of escaping their impoverished life, while Zachariah, who is dark-skinned, is content with their routine. As tensions rise and their differences become more apparent, the brothers navigate themes of identity, race, and the limitations imposed by society, ultimately leading to a shocking and heartbreaking climax.

    The 3813th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Master Harold...And The Boys

    The play takes place in South Africa during the era of apartheid and revolves around the complex relationship between a young white boy and two black men who work in his mother's tea room. The boy has grown up with these men and shares a close bond with them, but as he struggles with personal turmoil and the pressures of the racist society around him, he begins to assert his racial superiority, leading to a devastating display of discrimination and the shattering of their familial relationship. The narrative explores themes of racism, human dignity, and the impact of societal injustice on personal relationships.

    The 5449th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Sizwe Bansi Is Dead

    This play explores the harsh realities of apartheid in South Africa through the story of a black man who adopts a dead man's identity to improve his prospects. After being forced to leave his home in King William's Town due to restrictive work laws, he assumes the name and papers of a dead man named Sizwe Bansi, effectively erasing his own identity. The narrative unfolds in a photography studio, where he has come to have his picture taken with his new identity. Through this act, he grapples with the loss of his name and the complex issues of dignity, identity, and survival under an oppressive regime, revealing the personal cost of systemic racial injustice.

    The 7002nd Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. A Lesson From Aloes

    Set in South Africa during the apartheid era, the play explores themes of friendship, betrayal, and the complex nature of loyalty. It revolves around a white liberal couple, Piet and Gladys, whose lives have been impacted by the political turmoil and racial injustices of the time. As they prepare for a dinner with their black friend Steve, who is about to emigrate to England, tensions rise and secrets are revealed. The aloe plants Piet obsessively tends to become a metaphor for resilience and survival, reflecting the characters' struggles with their personal and political realities. The narrative delves into the psychological and emotional costs of living under an oppressive system, and the strains it places on relationships and individual integrity.

    The 7959th Greatest Book of All Time