K. Sello Duiker

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K. Sello Duiker
Born (1974-04-13)13 April 1974
Orlando, Soweto, South Africa
Died 19 January 2005(2005-01-19) (aged 30)
Occupation Novelist
Nationality South African

Kabelo "Sello" Duiker, (13 April 1974 – 19 January 2005), was a South African novelist. His debut novel, Thirteen Cents, won the 2001 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book, Africa Region. Furthermore, his second and final novel, The Quiet Violence of Dreams, won the 2002 Herman Charles Bosman Prize. He also worked in advertising and as a screenwriter.


Duiker, the eldest of three brothers,[1] was born in Orlando West, Soweto and raised in Soweto at the height of apartheid by middle-class university-educated parents. Sent out of the township to attend a Catholic primary school from grade 5 and went first to La Salle College [2] until grade 7 and his early high school years he was sent on to Redhill School, an elite institution where he was one of the very few black pupils.[3] Duiker was schooled at the height of Apartheid; this influenced him greatly. He spent 2 years in England as a sixth form student at Huntington School, York before returning to South Africa to attend university where he studied copy-writing. Duiker worked for an advertising company before scriptwriting for the soapie Backstage.[4] Duiker received a degree in journalism from rhodes university, he also briefly studied at the University of Cape Town. Duiker used drugs such as LSD, Marijuana and others. His novels are considered to be fairly autobiographical. After his expulsion from college, he was institutionalized at a psychiatric hospital. After release, he wrote Thirteen Cents in two months.[4]

He suffered a nervous breakdown in 2004 prior to committing suicide by hanging himself in Northcliff, Johannesburg, in January 2005. It is speculated that Duiker had bipolar disorder or borderline schizophrenia. Duiker was working as a commissioning editor at the SABC at the time of his death. He had gone off his medication as he believed that it was suppressing his creativity. Duiker read the eulogy at the funeral of fellow young novelist Phaswane Mpe, also from suicide, a month before his own death.[4]

Thirteen Cents[edit]

Thirteen Cents [5] was published in 2000 by David Philip Publishers. The novella is written from the perspective of Azure, a black street child with blue eyes in Cape Town. Azure experiences gangsterism, the sex trade and alienation due to his unusual appearance. The novel is an example of magical realist style as it also possesses mythical, post apocalyptic content. The novella is said to be inspired by The Famished Road by Ben Okri, whose protagonist is named Azaro.

The Quiet Violence of Dreams[edit]

The Quiet Violence of Dreams[6] features the university student, Tshepo, who begins the novel in a mental hospital. The novel tracks his experience as a sex worker at a gay massage parlor, that serves mostly white clients.



  1. ^ van der Merwe, Annari. "K Sello Duiker: 13 April 1974 – 19 January 2005". OuLitNet. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  2. ^ Themba Tshepo Madi
  3. ^ Rachel Donadio, 'Post-Apartheid Fiction', The New York Times, 3 December 2006
  4. ^ a b c "Rereading Sello Suiker". City Press. City Press. Retrieved 2014-09-20. 
  5. ^ url=http://books.google.com/books?id=_0p1t1VqqecC&printsec=frontcover&dq=K.+Sello+Duiker&hl=en&ei=JJ8fTq6rOKPm0QG_kpXfAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false%7C year= 2000 | title=Thirteen Cents| publisher=New Africa Books| isbn= 978-0-86486-357-7
  6. ^ The Quiet Violence Of Dreams, Kwela Books, 2001, ISBN 978-0-7957-0120-7