Stella Blakemore

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Stella Blakemore (1906 – 1991) was a popular South African author of Afrikaans youth novels.[1]

Background[edit]

Blakemore was born in a tent near Lindley in the Free State, but went to school in Natal. Her mother was a music teacher of Boer descent and her father was Captain Percy Blakemore, an officer in the British Army. However, Blakemore left his wife and child four years later to become a professional card player. Her most famous pseudonym, Theunis Krogh, was derived from her grandfather on her mother's side - Theunis Johannes Krogh, the undersecretary of the South African Republic administration of President Paul Kruger.

After completing high school she studied piano and singing at the Royal Academy of Music in London, as well as opera in Germany. Afterwards she returned to South Africa where she taught for a time in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

In 1933 she married the Welshman David Owen, a civil engineer, in London, which was the start of a period of worldwide travel for her. The lived, amongst other places, in Ghana, The Ivory Coast, Italy, England, Swaziland, Nigeria, Germany and Ireland. She began writing in the 1920s in Germany; her first work was a play, Die Goue Sleutel ("The Golden Key").

The couple had two children, Peter and Salene, both of whom were adopted.

Die Meisies van Maasdorp ("The Girls of Maasdorp") - the first book in her Maasdorp series - was published in 1932. Fifteen other books in this series followed. Blakemore also wrote the twenty-book Keurboslaan series (under the male pseudonym Theunis Krogh). She also wrote books under the names Analize Biermann, Stella Owen and Diem Grimbeeck.

Both the Maasdorp and Keurboslaan series made an important contribution to Afrikaans literature and are credited with instilling a love for reading in many South African children.

She died in Northern Ireland, aged 85, having written 66 books.

References[edit]

  1. ^ >"Author Focus: Stella Blakemore: Biographical info". Kwela Books. Retrieved 27 February 2010.