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Ken Gampu (28 August 1929 – 4 November 2003) was a South African actor.

Ken Gampu
Born (1929-08-28)28 August 1929
Germiston, South Africa
Died 4 November 2003(2003-11-04) (aged 74)
Vosloorus, South Africa
Occupation Actor
Years active 1958 - 2001
Spouse(s) Violet

Before he began his career, Gampu was a physical training instructor, salesman, interpreter and police officer. His first acting job was in Athol Fugard's play, No Good Friday (1958). His big break came in the 1965 film Dingaka by Jamie Uys. The same year, he had a significant role in Cornel Wilde's African adventure film, The Naked Prey.



Gampu was the son of Morrison Gampu, a former Bantu government interpreter who later became an actor himself.[1]


1950s to 1970sEdit

In the 1973 action film, Joe Bullet, Gampu was featured in the lead role playing the part of a strong action man, Joe Bullet. The character was described by The Guardian as being modeled on something between Shaft and James Bond. Bullet drunk alcohol, drove sports cars, did karate, throws knives and climbs up mineshafts.[2] It was independently released in 1973, and it played at the Eyethu cinema in Soweto. It was screened twice then the film was banned.[3] This was done because the South African government at the time were concerned how it may influence the aspirations of black South Africans. For about 40 years the original film reels were stored in a box in the back of producer Tonie van der Merwe's garage gathering dust. He hung on to the reels during the course of 40 years.[4] announced on January 24, 2017, that after 44 years of absence, the film was to be screened at the Bioscope Independent Cinema in Johannesburg on January 24 and at The Company Gardens in Cape Town on January 25.[5]

In Death of a Snowman, Gampu played a no-nonsense beat reporter trying to get the scoop on mysterious Mr. X. He is aided by a detective friend he has on the police force (played by Nigel Davenport.[6]

1980s - 2000sEdit

Playing the part of Khumalo, Gampu co-starred with Ian Yule and Tamara Franke in the 1982 film Shamwari. [7]

Selected filmographyEdit


External linksEdit