André Brink

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André Brink
Andre Brink Portrait.jpg
André Brink in Lyon, France, June 2007
BornAndré Philippus Brink
(1935-05-29)29 May 1935
Vrede, South Africa
Died6 February 2015(2015-02-06) (aged 79)
On a flight from the Netherlands to South Africa
Language Afrikaans, English
Nationality South African
Alma mater University of Potchefstroom
Sorbonne University
Notable works A Dry White Season
An Act of Terror
A Chain of Voices

André Philippus Brink, OIS (29 May 1935 – 6 February 2015) was a South African novelist. He wrote in both Afrikaans and English and taught English at the University of Cape Town. [1]

The Order of Ikhamanga is a South African honour. It was instituted on 30 November 2003 and is granted by the President of South Africa for achievements in arts, culture, literature, music, journalism, and sports. The order has three classes:

University of Cape Town university in Cape Town, South Africa

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is a public research university located in Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. UCT was founded in 1829 as the South African College making it the oldest higher education institute in South Africa. In terms of full university status, it is jointly the oldest university in South Africa and the oldest extant university in Sub-Saharan Africa alongside Stellenbosch University which received full university status on the same day in 1918.


In the 1960s Brink, Ingrid Jonker, Etienne Leroux and Breyten Breytenbach were key figures in the significant Afrikaans literary movement known as Die Sestigers ("The Sixty-ers"). These writers sought to use Afrikaans as a language to speak against the apartheid government, and also to bring into Afrikaans literature the influence of contemporary English and French trends. While Brink's early novels were especially concerned with apartheid, his later work engaged the new range of issues posed by life in a democratic South Africa.

Ingrid Jonker South African poet

Ingrid Jonker (OIS), was a South African poet. While she wrote in Afrikaans, her poems have been widely translated into other languages. Jonker has reached iconic status in South Africa and is often compared with Sylvia Plath and Marilyn Monroe, owing to the tragic course of her turbulent life.

Etienne Leroux was an Afrikaans writer and a member of the South African Sestigers literary movement.

Breyten Breytenbach South African writer and painter

Breyten Breytenbach is a South African writer and painter known for his opposition to apartheid, and consequent imprisonment by the South African government. He is informally considered as the national poet laureate by Afrikaans-speaking South Africans of the region. He also holds French citizenship.


Brink was born in Vrede, in the Free State. Brink moved to Lydenburg, where he matriculated at Hoërskool Lydenburg in 1952 with seven distinctions, the second student from the then Transvaal to achieve this feat and studied Afrikaans literature in the Potchefstroom University of South Africa. His immense attachment with literature carried him to France from 1959 to 1961, where he got his degree from Sorbonne University at Paris in comparative literature.

Vrede Place in Free State, South Africa

Vrede is a town in the Free State province of South Africa that is the agricultural hub of a 100 km² region. Maize, wheat, mutton, wool, beef, dairy products and poultry are farmed in the region.

Free State (province) Province of South Africa

The Free State is a province of South Africa. Its capital is Bloemfontein, which is also South Africa's judicial capital. Its historical origins lie in the Boer republic called Orange Free State and later Orange Free State Province.

Lydenburg Place in Mpumalanga, South Africa

Lydenburg is a town in Thaba Chweu Local Municipality, Mpumalanga, South Africa. Alternatively known as Mashishing, Lydenburg is situated on the Sterkspruit/Dorps River tributary of the Lepelle River at the base of the Long Tom Pass. The name is derived from the Dutch Lijdenburg, or "Town of Suffering". Lydenburg has become the centre of the South African fly-fishing industry and is an agricultural and mining hub.

During his stay, he came across an undeniable fact that changed his mind forever: black students were treated on an equal social basis with other students. Back in South Africa, he became one of the most prominent of young Afrikaans writers, along with the novelist Etienne Leroux and the poet Breyten Breytenbach, to challenge the apartheid policy of the National party through his writings. During a second sojourn in France between 1967 and 1968, he hardened his political position against Apartheid, and began writing both in Afrikaans and English to enlarge his audience and outplay the censure he was facing in his native country at the time.

Indeed, his novel Kennis van die aand (1973) was the first Afrikaans book to be banned by the South African government. [2] André Brink translated Kennis van die aand into English and published it abroad as Looking on Darkness. This was his first self-translation. [3] After that, André Brink wrote his works simultaneously in English and Afrikaans. [4] In 1975, he obtained his PhD in Literature at Rhodes University.

Self-translation is a translation of a source text into a target text by the writer of the source text.

Rhodes University public research university in Grahamstown, South Africa

Rhodes University is a public research university located in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It is one of four universities in the province. Established in 1904, Rhodes University is the province's oldest university, and it is the fifth or sixth oldest South African university in continuous operation, being preceded by the University of the Free State (1904), University of Witwatersrand (1896), Stellenbosch University (1866) and the University of Cape Town (1829). Rhodes was founded in 1904 as Rhodes University College, named after Cecil Rhodes, through a grant from the Rhodes Trust. It became a constituent college of the University of South Africa in 1918 before becoming an independent university in 1951.

In 2008, in an echo of a scene from his novel A Chain of Voices, his family was beset by tragedy, when his nephew Adri Brink was murdered in front of his wife and children in their Gauteng home. [5]

Gauteng Province of South Africa

Gauteng is one of the nine provinces of South Africa. The name is in Sotho-Tswana and it means "place of gold." Nguni speakers call it eGoli.

He died on a flight from Amsterdam to South Africa from Belgium, where he had received an honorary doctorate from the Belgian Francophone Université Catholique de Louvain. [6] He was married five times. Brink's son, Anton Brink, is an artist. [7]


For a more comprehensive publication list, see the Afrikaans article on André P. Brink.




See also


  1. Cowell, Alan (7 February 2015). "André Brink, South African Literary Lion, Dies at 79". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  2. Brink, André (11 September 2010). "A Long Way From Mandela's Kitchen". New York Times. Retrieved 15 October 2012. One of my novels had the dubious distinction of being the first book in Afrikaans to be banned under apartheid.
  3. Brink, André (2003): "English and the Afrikaans Writer" in: Steven G. Kellman Switching languages. Translingual writers reflect on their craft. University of Nebraska Press, p. 218.
  4. "A Chain of Voices (review)". Archived from the original on 15 September 2009. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  5. For better or worse The Economist. 12 February 2009
    Between staying and going The Economist. 25 September 2008
  6. Thorpe, Vanessa (7 February 2015). "André Brink, anti-apartheid novelist and campaigner, dies aged 79". The Observer . Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  7. "anton brink". South African Artists. Archived from the original on 18 June 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2008.
  8. "The Booker Prize 1978". The Man Booker Prize. 1978. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  9. Carolyn Turgeon, "A Dry White Season" at

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