Ad Donker

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Adriaan Donker (5 December 1933 – 17 July 2002) was a pioneer in South African publishing. Born in Bilthoven, the Netherlands, he learnt book publishing from his father (Ad. Donker, Rotterdam [1]) and Collier Macmillan in London and New York. He emigrated as sales representative to South Africa in 1966.

Under Apartheid many of Donker’s Publications were considered „subversive“. Despite pressure from government officials, surveillance by the security police, including threats of loss of passport and illegal house searches, Donker adamantly continued publishing social critical works.

He was founder and director of the “Centre of Creative Arts“ in Durban initiating the international Poetry Festival and The Time of the Writer.

He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his contribution to South African literature.


The first publications of black literature in South Africa were under Ad.Donker Publisher in 1974 with Mongane Wally Serote and Sipho Sepamla. Playwright and author Athol Fugard “Tsosti“ and imprisoned Poet Dikobe wa Magole (“Baptism of Fire“ ISBN 0-86852-051-9) are amongst the many authors he promoted. With his love for Literature he republished forgotten works by Bessie Head “Tales of Tenderness and Power“, Olive Schreiner’s “Story of an African Farm“, Sol T.Plaatje “Mhudi“ and the then banned work by Bloke Modisane “Blame me on History“.



"Marigolds in August" Athol Fugard and Ross Devenish 1982 (ISBN 0-86852-008-X)