Afrikaans Literature

book cover BuysTo coincide with the Week of the Afrikaans Novel (29 September-8 October 2017), the Library, Documentation and Information Department of the African Studies Centre Leiden has compiled the present web dossier, based on the ASCL library collection. In addition to titles on Afrikaans literature and on the six South African writers participating in this year’s literary festival, the dossier contains titles of Afrikaans novels, short stories, poetry, prose and drama published since 2010. All titles are available in the ASCL Library. Each title links directly to the corresponding record in the library’s online catalogue, which provides further bibliographic details. The dossier is introduced by Tiny Kraan and concludes with a selection of links to relevant web sites.




The Afrikaans language is spoken in large parts of South Africa and Namibia and, to a lesser extent in Botswana. It is a young language, originating in the second half of the 17th century when the Dutch that had been living in the Cape since 1654 had to communicate with local Khoi and San communities and with the slaves they imported mainly from Madagascar, the Indian subcontinent and South-East Asia. As a result of these contacts  the Dutch language evolved into what is now known as Afrikaans. Although Dutch remained spoken and written in the higher echelons of society, it lost importance in the course of time. Around 1875, Afrikaners (Afrikaans speaking people) realised that their language was more widespread than Dutch and that it was time to recognize it as a language in its own right. In this period, the first books and journals in Afrikaans appeared. Finally, in 1925, the Afrikaans language was recognised as an official language (alongside English).
The first literary texts in Afrikaans date from circa 1900. Historically, Afrikaans literature has always been imbedded in the South African socio-political context of the time. This meant that in the first part of the 20th century Afrikaans literature was mainly aimed at strenghthening Afrikaner consiousness and identity. The second half of this century, the period of apartheid, saw new literary developments as a reaction to political developments.

Apartheid started in 1948 when the Nationalist Party won the elections. In the 1960s, Afrikaans literature started to form one of the forces in opposition to the politics of this party. Most acclaimed Afrikaans authors challenged the government’s domestic and foreign policies.
The Sestigers movement, a collective of South African authors, played an important role by resisting apartheid in their writings. They established their own publishing house, and campaigned against censorship. This new generation of committed writers no longer defended white Afrikaner politics, but instead focused on the negative impact of apartheid on South Africa’s black and ‘coloured’communities. Writers include Etienne Leroux, André Brink, Elsa Joubert, Breyten Breytenbach, Etienne van Heerden, and John Miles. Their literary texts no longer represented the white Afrikaners and their Christian and patriarchal views. Their novels dealt, directly or indirectly, with the country’s system of institutionalised racial segregation and discrimination. The Sestiger movement is also known for changes in the literairy field, e.g. black and ‘coloured’ people (bruinmense in Afrikaans) were no longer minor players in their novels but became leading characters.
Afrikaans-speaking  ‘coloured’ writers and poets, victims of apartheid themselves, now had a voice too. This resulted in a revival of engaged poetry that focused on the apartheid laws that interfered  in their personal lives, such as the ban on interracial marriages and forced removals (District Six).

After apartheid
After the political changes of 1994, Afrikaans writers turned to representations of the past as a departure from the political novels written during the struggle. Writing became a new form of social commentary. History was revisited in these novels in an attempt to make sense of the past (André Brink, J.M. Coetzee, Dan Sleigh and Marlene van Niekerk)
Christoffel Coetzee Op soek na generaal Mannetjies Mentz en Ingrid Winterbach Niggie offer new perspectives on the  Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). A revival of stories about South Africa’s border wars (1966-1988) has been taking place in recent years, e.g. Grensoorlogstories ed. by Jeanette Ferreira. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission resulted in a plethora of personal stories from the victims of the gross human  rights violations that took place during apartheid (Antjie Krog). Irma Joubert’s Tolbos is an example of dealing with the recent past (“we didn’t known”) in popular fiction.
New genres that have emerged include crime novels and magic-realism novels. Well-known crime writers include Karin Brynard, Deon Meyer and Rudie van Rensburg. Elements of magic-realism can be found in the aforementioned Opsoek na Generaal Mannetjies Mentz, in the novels of  Etienne van Heerden and the short stories by Abraham de Vries.

Another literary development is a growing interest in the voices of people that had been silenced in the past. This can be seen in the increase in contributions to present-day Afrikaans literature by ‘coloured’ Afrikaans writers and poets. They enrich Afrikaans literature with stories about their own world. Novelists include Simon Bruinders, Dido and Bettine Wyngaard. Poets include Floris Brown, Diana Ferrus and Clinton du Plessis. These novels and  poems show a strong commitment to the writers community.
Closely connected to the upheaval of Afrikaans literature written by ‘coloured’ Afrikaans authors is a decrease in standard Afrikaans literature. Standard Afrikaans is loosing its dominant position as different variants of Afrikaans are increasingly being used. This includes Kaaps Afrikaans which has developed in the Western Cape, particularly on the Cape Flats. Originally, the spoken language of working-class people that only occurred in dialogue form in Afrikaans novels, it  is now developing into a literary spoken and written medium in its own right. Representatives of this genre include the poets Marius Titus, Loit Sôls, Ronelda Kamfer, Nathan Trantraal and Shirmoney Rhode.
South African rappers have since long used Kaaps, seeing is as part of a bigger movement in South Africa to reclaim the Afrikaans language for all who speak it (Jitsvinger, Hemelbesem).

The 1994 elections opened the way to a new political and social system. The so-called Rainbow Nation led to high expectations throughout the country. However, pessimistic reflections on the new democratic South Africa began to emerge after 1994, but particularly  after 1999. This was the year that Nelson Mandela’s presidency ended and the country was confronting the challenges of a developing nation, such as a high crime rate, corruption, unemployment and poverty, incl. white poverty. Novels that deal with this new situation often present a negative image of the South African society after the transition to democracy. Examples are André Brink’s novel Donkermaan, an anthology of poetry entitled Nuwe verset  compiled by Daniel Hugo et al. and collections of short stories by Abraham H. de Vries and Andries Bezuidenhout.
A number of established Afrikaans writers have written novels sketching a future South Africa marked by extreme social and  moral decay, political unrest and deterioration, for example Horrelpoot by Eben Venter, and Miskruier  by Jaco Botha.

Tiny Kraan

Literature in Afrikaans published since 2010


Die derde spoel / S.J. Naude??. - Kaapstad : Umuzi, 2017

Rooi haring : 'n speurroman / Schalk Schoombie. - Kaapstad : Human & Rousseau, 2017

Web / Naomi Meyer. - Kaapstad : Queillerie, cop. 2017

Koors : die memoires van Nicolaas Storm, oor die ondersoek na die moord op sy pa / Deon Meyer. - Kaapstad : Human & Rousseau, 2016

Lugkasteel / Annelie Botes. - Johannesburg : Penguin, 2016

Moordvis / Irna Van Zyl. - Cape Town : Penguin Random House South Africa, 2016

Op 'n dag, 'n hond / John Miles. - [Cape Town] : Human & Rousseau, 2016

Slaafs / Bettina Wyngaard. - Kaapstad : Umuzi, 2016

Buys 'n grensroman / Willem Anker. - Kaapstad : Kwela Boeke, 2015

Ikarus / Deon Meyer. - Kaapstad : Human & Rousseau, 2015

book cover JudaskusMoestas : 'n raaiselroman / Deborah Steinmair. - Kaapstad : Human & Rousseau, 2015

Split / Debbie Loots. - Kaapstad : Queillerie, 2015

Papegaaislaai / Theunis Engelbrecht. - Kaapstad : Umuzi, 2014

Rewolusie van die hart : twee vroue, twee lande, een stryd / Adriana Faling. - Kaapstad : Lux Verbi, 2014

As die wind kom draai / Hans Du Plessis. - Kaapstad : Tafelberg, 2013

Karretjiemense / Carol Campbell & Kirby van Merwe. - Cape Town : Umuzi, 2013

Klimtol : 'n roman / Etienne Van Heerden. - Capetown : Tafelberg, 2013

Kobra / Deon Meyer. - Kaapstad : Human & Rousseau, 2013

Bitter heuning / Hermione Suttner & Linda Rode. - Kaapstad : Kwela Boeke, 2012

Daan Dreyer se blou geranium / Derick B. Van der Walt. - Kaapstad : Kwela Boeke, 2012

Die aanspraak van lewende wesens / Ingrid Winterbach. - Kaapstad : Human & Rousseau, 2012

Die blou van onthou / Marita Van der Vyver. - Kaapstad : Tafelberg, 2012

Die skrywer / Esta Steyn. - Kaapstad : Tafelberg, 2012

Een stad drie rooikoppe sewe dae / Adeline Radloff & Lili Radloff. - Pretoria : Lapa Uitgewers, 2012

Hartland / Deon Opperman & Kerneels Breytenbach. - Kaapstad : Tafelberg, 2012

Madeliefies van staal / Pat Stamatélos. - Kaapstad : Kwela Boeke, 2012

Mieke rock uit / Jana Du Plessis. - Cape Town : Tafelberg, 2012

Poppekas / Deborah Steinmair. - Pretoria : Lapa, 2012

Skoenlapper / Irma Venter. - Kaapstad : Human & Rousseau, 2012

Tik / Piet Steyn. - Kaapstad : Tafelberg, 2012

Werfsonde / Kleinboer. - Kaapstad : Umuzi, 2012

Short stories

Die helder oomblik : kortverhale / John Smuts & Ria Smuts. - Kaapstad : Tafelberg, 2016

book cover Haai Karoo

Die ballade van Robbie de Wee en andere verhale / Deon Meyer. - Kaapstad : Human & Rousseau, 2015

Dubbelfoto / Cas Wepener. - Pretoria : Protea Boekhuis, 2013

Maar wie snoei die rose in die nag? / Abraham H. De Vries. - Kaapstad : Human & Rousseau, 2013

Bloots / Karin Eloff & Peter van Noord. - Kaapstad : Tafelberg, 2012

Die vrou in die vuur : 'n keur uit die verhale van Riana Scheepers / Riana Scheepers & Adriaan Meyer. - Kaapstad [etc.] : Human & Rousseau, 2012

Haai Karoo / Etienne Van Heerden. - Kaapstad : Tafelberg, 2012


Skynskadu / Christine Barkhuizen le Roux. - Tygervallei : Naledi, 2016

Matriks / Joan Hambidge. - Kaapstad : Human & Rousseau, NB-Uitgewers, 2015

Narokkong / Riel C. D. Franzsen. - Pretoria : Protea Boekhuis, 2015

Anti-apartheid anthologie : Afrikaanse gedichten uit de apartheidsperiode / Tiny Kraan. - Leiden : Tiny Kraan, 2014

Mede-wete / Antjie Krog. - Kaapstad : Human & Rousseau, NB-Uitgewers, 2014book cover Mede-wete

Duisend dae op jou spoor / Casparus Johannes Adam Vos. - [Pretoria] : Hond, 2013

Klawerjas : gedigte / Adam Small. - Kaapstad : Tafelberg, 2013

Nuwe stemme 5 / Heilna Du Plooy & Loftus Marais. - Kaapstad : Tafelberg, 2013

[VII] / Gilbert Gibson. - Kaapstad : Tafelberg, 2013

Kry my by die gewone plek aguur : Kaapstadse gedigte / Loftus Marais. - Kaapstad : Tafelberg, 2012

Om die gedagte van geel / Petra Müller. - Kaapstad : Tafelberg, 2012

Prose and drama

God praat Afrikaans  / deur Simon Witbooi. - Pretoria : LAPA Uitgewers, 2017

Melk die heilige koeie : van baarde en banting tot Zupta en zol / Deon Maas. - Kaapstad : Tafelberg, 2016

Pruimtwak & skaduboksers : rubrieke, heildronke en nagedagtes / Danie Marais. - Kaapstad : Tafelberg, 2015

Stukke teater : Selle ou storie, Karnaval, Die van Aardes van Grootoor, Panorama, Die vleiroos / Pieter Dirk Uys. - Kaapstad : Human & Rousseau, 2015
book cover Stukke teater

Die vere van die duiwel : vergete ou Afrikaanse sprokies - opgediep in Namibi / Sigrid Schmidt, Helize Van Vuuren & Philip John. - Windhoek : Kuiseb, 2014

Die vrou wat alleen bly : twee draaiboeke / Karel Schoeman. - Pretoria : Protea Boekhuis, 2014

Nederlands als poort naar Afrika / Bart de Graaff & Riet de Jong-Goossens. - Schiedam : Scriptum, 2014

Rooiland : 'n drama / Tertius Kapp. - Kaapstad : Tafelberg, 2013

Die wonderwerker / Chris Barnard. - Johannesburg : Penguin Books, 2012

About Afrikaans literature

Nederlandse tippetoppetepeltuitjes : de Afrikaanse literatuur in Nederland in 2016 / Eep Francken
In: Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe: (2017), vol. 57, no. 1, p. 222-26.

Nog een Nobelprijs voor Zuid-Afrika? : de Afrikaanse literatuur in Nederland in 2015 / Eep Francken.
In: Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe: (2016), vol. 56, no. 1, p. 277-81.

Breyten Breytenbach in een zijspiegel : het vizier van H.C. ten Berge : transnationale laterale beweging en particuliere 'hetero-images' van een literaire actor / Yves T'Sjoen
In: Werkwinkel: (2015), vol. 10, no. 1, p. 33-50.

Die gedig is spel - fasette van spel in enkele gedigte van T.T. Cloete : navorsings- en oorsigartikel / Adéle Nel
In: Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe: (2015), vol.55, no.2, p.188-204 : foto.

Die historisiteit van resente Afrikaanse historiese fiksi oor die Anglo-Boeroorlog = The historicity of recent Afrikaanse historical fiction on the Anglo-Boer War / Fransjohan Pretorius
In: Tydskrif vir Letterkunde: (2015), jg. 52, nr. 2, p. 61-77.

Die huid huil luid in stilhuil - op 'n (klank)spoor in T. T. Cloete se poesie : navorsings- en oorsigartikel / Ina Wolfaardt-Grabe
In: Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe: (2015), vol.55, no.2, p.220-242 : foto.

Forging a new South Africa: plagiarism, ventriloquism and the "black voice" in Antjie Krog's 'Country of my skull' / Kate Highman
In: Journal of Southern African Studies: (2015), vol.41, no.1, p.187-206.

Mqhayi's chapter and verse : Kees van die Kalahari becoming u-Adonisi wasentlango / Antjie Krog & Sindiwe Magona
In: Tydskrif vir Letterkunde: (2015), jg. 52, nr. 1, p. 5-17.

Om Hennie Aucamp te onthou / Danie Botha. - Pretoria : Protea Boekhuis, 2015book cover Om Hennie

T.T. Cloete en die subalterne : navorsings- en oorsigartikel / Marius Crous
In: Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe: (2015), vol.55, no.2, p.177-187 : foto.

A Foucauldian reading of power dynamics in two Afrikaans historical novels Daleen Matthee's 'Fiela's child' and Micki Pistorius's 'Sorg' / Belinda Du Plooy
In: Current Writing: (2014), vol. 26, no. 1, p. 51-58.

Themed edition: Olga Kirsch / Jerzy Koch
In: Werkwinkel, ISSN 1896-3307 ; vol. 9 (2)

'As ek dáárdie nektar wil eet, dan moet ek steke verdra' : stereotipering en vervreemding in die uitbeelding van lesbiese verhoudings in twee Afrikaanse romans / Jessica Murray
In: Tydskrif vir Letterkunde: (2013), jg. 50, nr. 1, p. 5-15.

'Van vandag af is jou naam Februarie!' : naamgewing en naamstroping in tekste van Diana Ferrus, I.D. du Plessis en Rayda Jacobs / Shamiega Chaudhari
In: Tydskrif vir Letterkunde: (2013), jg. 50, nr. 2, p. 30-46.

Soul-brother Eugène N. Marais : some notes towards a re-edit of his work / Stephen Gray
In: Tydskrif vir Letterkunde: (2013), jg. 50, nr. 2, p. 63-80.

Wachten op de barbaren : metageschiedenis in het werk van Peter Blum / Siegfried Huigen
In: Tydskrif vir Letterkunde: (2013), jg. 50, nr. 1, p. 47-63.

Adam Small / Hein Willemse
In: Tydskrif vir letterkunde, ISSN 0041-476X ; jg. 49, nr. 1

Afrikaans literature after 1976 : resistances and repositionings / Louise Viljoen
In: Cambridge history of South African literature / edited by David Attwell, Derek Attridge.- Cambridge : Cambridge University Press: (2012), p.452-473.

Afrikaans literature, 1948-1976 / Hein Willemse
In: Cambridge history of South African literature / edited by David Attwell, Derek Attridge.- Cambridge : Cambridge University Press: (2012), p.429-451.

The Cambridge history of South African literature / David Attwell & Derek Attridge. - Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2012

Literature by and about Willem Anker, Amy Jephta, Andries Bezuidenhout en Suzie Matlhola, Ingrid Winterbach, Rudie van Rensburg
Willem Anker, Amy Jephta, Andries Bezuidenhout en Suzie Matlhola, Ingrid Winterbach, Rudie van Rensburg

Willem Anker

Skrapnel / Willem Anker. - 2de dr. - Pretoria : Protea Boekhuis, 2017

Samsa-masjien : [drama] / Willem Anker. - Pretoria : Protea Boekhuis, 2015

Tien vrae, Willem Anker oor die boek Samsa-masjien / Willem Anker & Naomi Meyer. - [S.l.] : LitNet, 2015

Tien vrae, Willem Anker oor Buys / Willem Anker & Naomi Meyer. - [S.l.] : LitNet, 2014

Voorstellings van geweld in Slaghuis (2007) en Skrapnel (2011) deur dramaturg Willem Anker = Representations of violence in Slaghuis (2007) and Skrapnel (2011) by playwright Willem Anker / Johan Coetser
In: Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe: (2013), jrg. 53, nr. 1, p. 45-59.

Siegfried / Willem Anker. - Kaapstad : Kwela Boeke, 2007

Amy Jeptha

Kristal-vlakte / Amy Jephta. - Kaapstad : Tafelberg, 2016

S.A. gay plays 2 : an anthology of plays, 1994-2013 / Robin Malan, Robert Colman, Peter Krummeck, Amy Jephta, Nicholas Spagnoletti & Pfarelo N. - Mowbray : Junkets, 2013. - (Collected series ; no. 6)

Andries Bezuidenhout

Retoer / Andries Bezuidenhout. - Pretoria : Protea Boekhuis, 2010

Veelvuldige gebruike vir huishoudelike toestelle / Andries Bezuidenhout. - Pretoria : Protea Boekhuis, 2014

Toeris in Hillbrow : rubrieke / Andries Bezuidenhout. - Kaapstad [etc.] : Human & Rousseau, 2010

Ingrid Winterbach

Vlakwater / Ingrid Winterbach. - Kaapstad : Human & Rousseau, 2015

Die aanspraak van lewende wesens / Ingrid Winterbach. - Kaapstad : Human & Rousseau, 2012

Die benederyk / Ingrid Winterbach. - Kaapstad [etc.] : Human & Rousseau, 2010

Beyond 2000 : South African literature today / Michael Chapman & Margaret Lenta
In: Current writing, ISSN 1013-929X ; vol. 21, no. 1/2

Die tand van die tyd : opstelle opgedra aan Jac Conradie / Willie Burger & Marné Pienaar. - Stellenbosch : Sun Press, 2009

"Jan de Dood en sy bende": vergestaltings van die dood in die romans van Lettie Viljoen/Ingrid Winterbach / Thys Human
In: Tydskrif vir Letterkunde: (2008), jg. 45, nr. 2, p. 72-86.

Die boek van toeval en toeverlaat / Ingrid Winterbach. - Kaapstad [etc.] : Human & Rousseau, 2006

Echoes of religion in minority literatures / Azila Talit Reisenberger
In: Journal for the study of religion, ISSN 1011-7601 ; vol. 19, no. 2

Niggie / Ingrid Winterbach. - Kaapstad [etc.] : Human & Rousseau, 2002

Landskap met vroue en slang / Lettie Viljoen. - Kaapstad [etc.] : Human & Rousseau, 1996

Karolina Ferreira / Lettie Viljoen. - Kaapstad [etc.] : Human & Rousseau, 1993

Klaaglied vir Koos / Lettie Viljoen. - Emmarentia : Taurus, 1990

Rudie van Rensburg

Pirana / Rudie van Rensburg. - Kaapstad : Queillerie, 2016

Slagyster / Rudie van Rensburg. - 2e dr. - Kaapstad : Queillerie, 2016

Tien vrae, Rudie van Rensburg oor Pirana : Skrywersonderhoude / Rudie van Rensburg & Naomi Meyer. - [S.l.] : LitNet, 2016

Judaskus / Rudie Van Rensburg. - Kaapstad : Queillerie, 2015

Kopskoot / Rudie van Rensburg. - Kaapstad : Queillerie, cop. 2015

logo week van de afrikaanse romanSelected web resources

The ASCL is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Afrikaans Literature and Language
ASCL web dossier 2011

LitNet is an independent online journal including articles about Afrikaans writers, books and reviews.

South Africa House, Amsterdam
The library of the South Africa House (Zuid-Afrikahuis) of the Netherlands-South African Society houses a unique collection of South African literature. A large part of the collection is in Afrikaans.

Week of the Afrikaans novel
Website of the Week of the Afrikaans novel including short video portraits of Willem Anker, Amy Jephta,  Andries Bezuidenhout en Suzie Matlhola.