Professor Lynn Dalrymple

Former University of KwaZulu-Natal academic and pioneer in the field of theatre and Aids communication Professor Lynn Dalrymple has succumbed to kidney failure after a long battle with the illness.

Dalrymple, who died last month aged 71, was born and schooled in Durban before starting her career as an English and drama teacher in Empangeni in the 1960s.

She was later appointed as a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Zululand.

While at the university, she challenged the accepted practice of using only Western texts and teaching methods at the institution.

Dalrymple fought for contextual and cultural relevance, a central theme throughout her later work. Her passion for theatre encouraged her to establish the Department of Drama at the university, where she was professor and head between 1988 and 1996.

Dalrymple pioneered the use of drama in education and drama for development, ensuring that a generation of students was exposed to a way of thinking that linked academia to the surrounding community through meaningful interventions.

In 1992, she was approached by the late Dr Allan Jaffe to create an educational programme to inform young people about the prevention of sexually transmitted infections.

She initiated the DramAidE (Drama in Aids Education) project which won numerous contracts, awards and funding grants from both local and international donors.

Twenty years since its establishment, the DramAidE project continues to encourage young people to participate in HIV prevention in schools and universities countrywide.

Many students who studied under Dalrymple have become leaders in the field of theatre and Aids education, while her work has been widely published in magazines and academic journals.

In 2000, Dalrymple was appointed as professor in the Centre for Communications and Media Studies at UKZN, a position she retained until her retirement in 2010.

Dalrymple is recognised for her pioneering work with the Southern African Association for Drama and Youth Theatre and, in 2009, an award in her name was created at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Drama for Life programme.

She leaves her husband, four children and six grandchildren.