Cosmo Pieterse

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Cosmo George Leipoldt Pieterse (born 1930 in Windhoek, Namibia) is a South African playwright, actor,[1] poet, literary critic and anthologist.[2]

Education and career[edit]

Cosmo Pieterse went to the University of Cape Town and taught in Cape Town until leaving South Africa in 1965. He was banned under the Riotous Assemblies Act of 1962.[3] He subsequently taught in London and at Ohio University in the United States:[4] arriving at Ohio University in 1970, he became a tenured faculty member in 1976. However, after travelling to meet his London publisher in 1979 he was denied re-entry to the US on classified information, allegedly for being "a suspected communist".[5][6]

In London Pieterse worked for the BBC World Service at Bush House in the later 1960s and early '70s.[7] Also an occasional actor, he appeared in The Burning, a 1968 30-minute short drama film directed by Stephen Frears.[8][9][10] As a poet, Pieterse has been characterised as producing work that is very "European in its tone, metaphors, and delivery", as Laura Linda Holland writes: "Cosmo Pieterse's poems, like those of Brutus, are heavily inundated with Western influences, concerns, and motifs while retaining a definite African bias....Cosmo Pieterse uses his love of words to create poetry of hope and renewal."[11]

Pieterse edited several anthologies of plays and poetry for the African Writers Series published by Heinemann.

Works edited[edit]

  • Ten One-act Plays. London: Heinemann Educational Books, African Writers Series 34, 1968.
  • (with Donald Munro) Protest & Conflict in African Literature, Heinemann Educational, 1969.
  • Seven South African Poets: Poems of Exile. African Writers Series 64. London: Heinemann Educational, 1971.
  • Short African Plays. London: Heinemann, African Writers Series 78, 1972.
  • Five African Plays. London: Heinemann, African Writers Series 114, 1972.
  • (with Dennis Duerden) African Writers Talking: a collection of radio interviews, Holmes & Meier, 1972.
  • (with Gwyneth Henderson) Nine African Plays for Radio. London: Heinemann, African Writers Series 114, 1973.
  • Echo and Choruses: "Ballad of the Cells", and selected shorter poems, 1974.
  • (with George Hallett) Present Lives Future Becoming: South African Landscape in Words and Pictures. Guildford: Hickory Press Ltd, 1974.
  • (with Angus Calder and Jack Mapanje) Summer Fires: New Poetry of Africa - an anthology of entries from the BBC Arts and Africa Poetry Award. Heinemann Educational Books, 1983.
  • (with Amelia House) Nelson Mandelamandla. Three Continents Press, 1989.


  1. ^ Melanie J. House, "Their Place on the South African Stage: The Peninsula Dramatic Society and the Trafalgar Players" (dissertation), Graduate Program in Theatre, The Ohio State University 2010.
  2. ^ Donald E. Herdeck, African Authors: a companion to Black African writing, 1973, p. 344.
  3. ^ Alex La Guma, Apartheid: a collection of writings on South African racism by South Africans. New York: International Publishers, 1971, p. 76.
  4. ^ Hans Karssenberg, City Poem 67- Cape Town, 1 January 2004.
  5. ^ John Shattuck, "Appendix A. Federal Restrictions on the Free Flow of Academic Information and Ideas", in Association of Research Libraries, Minutes of the Meeting, Issues 107-109, p. A.28.
  6. ^ Selwyn Cudjoe, "In tribute to Nelson Mandela", Trinidad Express Newspapers, 16 December 2013.
  7. ^ Lindsay Johns, "In Memory of Bush House... on the day the home of the BBC World Service closes its doors for the last time", Mail Online, 12 July 2012.
  8. ^ "The Burning (1968)", IMDb.
  9. ^ Joe Bendel, "United We Stand: South African Cinema During Apartheid", 5 April 2011.
  10. ^ "Burning, The", Complete Index To World Film.
  11. ^ Holland, Laura Linda, "A Critical Survey of Contemporary South African Poetry: The Language of Conflict and Commitment" (1987), pp. 41-43. Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5964.

External links[edit]