April 2019 marks the 403rd anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Behind his fame lie two things: his genius and the strength of the English press over the centuries. Reported to be the most studied secular author, the adulation he has received is close to hero-worship. Playwright George Barnard Shaw termed it “bardolatry”. The fame he has received — mostly positive — is so great that any person who has encountered the English language, from whatever country in the world, has heard or read about Shakespeare. But with decolonisation a major talking point in today’s discourse, it is worth pausing to think about Shakespeare in SA and other parts of the world. In 2017 there was talk that SA schools might stop teaching Shakespeare. A committee was given the task of reviewing the overall literature in 2018 and it is scheduled to report back in 2020. This could be seen by some as a step backwards. Shakespeare Schools Festival SA (SSFSA) head Kseniya Filinova-Bruton believes t...

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