Afrikaans literature

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Afrikaans literature is literature written in Afrikaans. Afrikaans is a daughter language of Dutch and is spoken by the majority of people in the Western Cape of South Africa and among Afrikaners and mixed race South Africans in other parts of South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. Afrikaans was historically one of the two official languages of South Africa, the other being English, but it currently shares the status of an "official language" with ten other languages.[1]

Some Afrikaans authors of note are André P. Brink, Breyten Breytenbach, N.P. van Wyk Louw, Deon Meyer, Dalene Matthee, Hennie Aucamp, Joan Hambidge, Ingrid Jonker. Many authors writing in Afrikaans were key opponents of Apartheid.[2]


Afrikaans can claim the same literary roots as contemporary Dutch, as both languages stem from 17th-century Dutch. One of the oldest examples of written Cape Dutch is the poem Lied ter eere van de Swellendamsche en diverse andere helden bij de bloedige actie aan Muizenberg in dato 7 Aug. 1795 (English: Song in Honour of the Swellendam and various others Heroes at the Bloody Action at Muizenberg)[3] while the earliest Afrikaans publications are generally believed to be Zamenspraak tusschen Klaas Waarzegger en Jan Twyfelaar (English: Conversations between Klaas Waarzegger and Jan Twyfelaar) by L.H. Meurant in 1861 and Uiteensetting van die godsdiens (English: Exposition of the Religion) by Abu Bakr Effendi in Arabic Afrikaans in 1877.[4]

During Apartheid, in particular since the 1960s, Afrikaans literature formed one of the strongest forces in opposition to the status quo, and most acclaimed Afrikaans authors challenged the National Party government's domestic and foreign policies.[5]

The Sestigers movement was an important collective of South African authors, who resisted Apartheid. Authors involved in the movement established a publishing house, Taurus, which printed writings that were controversial and which the government attempted to censor.[5]

Notable authors[edit]

Notable authors writing or who wrote in Afrikaans include André Brink and Breyten Breytenbach, Reza de Wet, Etienne Leroux, Jan Rabie, Ingrid Jonker, Adam Small, Bartho Smit, and Chris Barnard.[6]

The Hertzog Prize is the highest award for South African literature generally, as well as for literature written in Afrikaans.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The World Factbook - South Africa". CIA. Retrieved 24 October 2016. 
  2. ^ Barnard, Ian (Winter 1992). "The "Tagtigers"?: The (Un) Politics of Language in the "New" Afrikaans Fiction". Research in African Literatures. Indiana University Press. 23 (4): 77–95. 
  3. ^ Bettina Baron; Helga Kotthoff (12 April 2002). "Chapter 2 - Afrikaner nationalism and the discovery of the vernacular". Language Standardization and Language Change: The Dynamics of Cape Dutch (Pragmatics & Beyond New). John Benjamins Pub Co. p. 45. ISBN 90-272-1857-9. 
  4. ^ Kriger, Robert (1996). "The Genesis of Afrikaans". Afrikaans literature: recollection, redefinition, restitution : papers held at the 7th Conference on South African Literature at the Protestant Academy, Bad Boll. Rodopi. p. 51. 
  5. ^ a b Barnard, Ian (Winter 1992). "The "Tagtigers"?: The (Un) Politics of Language in the "New" Afrikaans Fiction". Research in African Literatures. Indiana University Press. 23 (4): 77–95. 
  6. ^ "Own a piece of history". ABSA/LitNet Living Legends series. 2004-11-24. Retrieved 2010-03-30. 
  7. ^ James, Jeffrey (Summer 1977). "Heat and Light on Southern Africa". The Wilson Quarterly. 1 (4): 172–174. 

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