Hamish Kyd is well-known for his radio dramas, with one of his most famous ’The Palace’ now released as a book. He will speak at the Durban Book Fair tomorrow.
Hamish Kyd is well-known for his radio dramas, with one of his most famous ’The Palace’ now released as a book. He will speak at the Durban Book Fair tomorrow.

Delving into Durban street life

By Tanya Waterworth Time of article published Mar 6, 2021

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Durban - Author, actor, scriptwriter and director, Hamish Kyd from Newlands East, is a prolific writer, using his many stories for radio, film and books.

Popular on Radio Lotus for his radio dramas, Kyd will speak about his new book The Palace at the Durban Book Fair tomorrow, at The Gallery in Ballito.

The Palace was originally written as a radio drama and is about the world on the streets. It is set in Durban with an Oliver Twist feel, but instead of the bad guy Fagan controlling the lives of hapless children, there's Prof, Maria, Roti and Benny, who may have been down and out on their luck, but who transform a basement into a haven – The Palace – for street children.

The plot revolves around two children, Simon and Lilly, who need to be saved from their tyrannical father Dennis Reeves, who has made their mother a slave to drugs.

The book was edited by Father Ewan Swartz, also from Newlands East, who has described it as full of action and drama, saying: "This brilliant piece of work highlights the author’s story telling ability and skill in holding the reader’s attention.

"The characters seem to jump off the page and one will find oneself engrossed by the story lines to the point of not wanting to put the book down. It is a triumphant story of how true conversion can lead a person to ever greater depths of self-knowledge and, ultimately, true freedom."

Speaking to the Independent on Saturday this week, Kyd said it took him about four months to transform the radio play into a book.

Having been in scriptwriting since the ’80s, Kyd, 61, rises at about 2.30am every day to start writing.

"There was a lot of heavy gangsterism in the ’80s in our area but, at that time, everyone had gone to sleep, so it was the best time to write. I normally have a coffee break at about 5am, when I proof read and correct what I’ve written. I write again until 7am, when I stop for a shower and to have breakfast, then I read over what I've done and I work until about 11am," said Kyd.

After that, he heads off to the many community projects he is involved with, from helping with a local youth organisation to senior citizens.

"’The Palace’ was already a radio play, so I had the dialogue and had to include the descriptive parts. With a novel, you can go to the next level and go into more depth. ’The Palace’ is a story for the whole family and has a lot of lessons in it

"I always write about the human condition. I'm very harsh with myself and I can direct my own stuff from a viewer's point of view. If you're too hooked to your own work, you'll never produce a play," said Kyd.

He added that he "milks" his own work, often taking a radio drama or play which he has written and turning it into a film or novel, but he was quick to highlight that radio drama "has kept me alive“.

"I have always loved doing radio and it has played a big part in developing my imagination. Everyone who listens to a radio drama, imagines it differently."

Kyd said the Covid-19 pandemic put the brakes on a potential television dramedy series, Muthi, which was written and ready for producing, while the release of the movie Who's Your Daddy, in which he was cast, had been postponed until next year.

Kyd was this week writing the last chapter of his book, The Punter, which is about a scam set around the Durban July horse racing scene.

He has also finished plotting out a new radio drama, For a Song, which is set in a mental institution and which Kyd described as a "dark comedic drama“.

"I've never had writer's block," he said.

Hamish Kyd will speaking at 1pm at the Durban Book Fair tomorrow, at The Gallery at the Ballito Lifestyle Centre.

The Palace is available from www.madeinchatsworth.co.za

The Independent on Saturday

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