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Breyten Breytenbach

From Academic Kids

Breyten Breytenbach (born September 16, 1939) is a South African writer and painter with French citizenship.

Breyten Breytenbach was born in Bonnievale, one of the most beautifully situated towns in the Western Cape, approximately 180km from Cape Town and 100km from the southernmost tip of Africa at Cape Agulhas. He studied fine arts at the University of Cape Town and became a committed opponent against the long held policy of apartheid. He left South Africa for Paris in the early 1960s. When he married a French woman of Vietnamese ancestry, he was not allowed to return. The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act (1949) and The Immorality Act (1950) made it a criminal offence for a white person to have any sexual relations with a person of a different race.

In France he was a founder member of Okhela, a resistance group fighting apartheid in exile. On an illegal trip to South Africa in 1975 he was betrayed, arrested and sentenced to nine years of imprisonment for high treason. Released in 1982 as a result of massive international intervention he returned to Paris and obtained French citizenship.

He currently divides his time between Europe, Africa, and the United States. He joined the University of Cape Town as a visiting professor in the Graduate School of Humanities (from January 2000) and is also involved with the Gorée Institute in Dakar (Senegal) and with the University of New York.

The work of Breytenbach includes numerous volumes of poetry, novels, and essays, many of which are in Afrikaans, many translated from Afrikaans to English, and many published originally in English. He is also known for his works of pictorial arts. Exhibitions of his paintings and prints were shown in numerous cities around the world including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Paris, Brussels, Edinburgh and New York.

Breytenbach was described as the only example of a nice South African in the song I've never met a nice South African. The song was written by John Lloyd for the satirical British TV series, Spitting Image.

He is the brother of Jan Breytenbach, founder of the South African Special Forces.

Poetry in English

  • The Iron Cow Must Sweat (Die ysterkoei moet sweet), Johannesburg, 1964
  • The House of the Deaf (Die huis van die dowe), Cape Town, 1967
  • Gangrene (Kouevuur), Cape Town, 1969
  • Lotus, Cape Town, 1970
  • The Remains (Oorblyfsels), Cape Town, 1970
  • Scrit. Painting Blue a sinking Ship. (Skryt. Om `n sinkende skip blou te verf), Amsterdam, 1972
  • In Other Words (Met ander woorde), Cape Town, 1973
  • Foot Writing (Voetskrif), Johannesburg, 1976
  • Sinking Ship Blues, Toronto 1977
  • And Death White as Words. An Anthology, London, 1978
  • In Africa even the flies are happy, London, 1978
  • Flower Writing (Blomskryf), Emmarentia, 1979 (Selected poems)
  • Eclipse (Eklips), Emmarentia, 1983
  • Buffalo Bill, Emmarentia, 1984
  • Living Death (Lewendood), Emmarentia, 1985
  • Judas Eye, London - New York, 1989
  • As Like (Soos die so), Emmarentia, 1990
  • Nine Landscapes of our Times Bequeathed to a Beloved (Nege landskappe van ons tye bemaak aan `n beminde), Groenkloof, 1993
  • The Handful of Feathers (Die hand vol vere), Cape Town, 1995 (Selected poems)
  • The Remains. An Elegy (Oorblyfsels. ´n Roudig), Cape Town, 1997
  • Paper Flower (Papierblom), Cape Town, 1998
  • Lady One, Cape Town, 2000 (Selected love poems)
  • Iron Cow Blues (Ysterkoei-blues), Cape Town, 2001 (Collected poems 1964-1975)
  • Lady One: Of Love and other Poems, New York, 2002

Prose in English

  • Catastrophes (Katastrofes), Johannesburg, 1964 (Stories)
  • To Fly (Om te vlieg), Cape Town, 1971 (Novel)
  • The Tree Behind the Moon (De boom achter de maan), Amsterdam, 1974 (Stories)
  • The Anthill Bloats … (Die miernes swell op …), Emmarentia, 1980 (Stories)
  • A Season in Paradise (Een seizoen in het paradijs), Amsterdam - New York - London, 1980 (Novel, uncensored edition)
  • Mouroir: Mirror Notes of a Novel, London - New York, 1983
  • The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist, London - New York, 1983
  • Mirror Death (Spiegeldood), Amsterdam, 1984 (Stories)
  • End Papers, London, 1985 (Essays)
  • Memory of Snow and of Dust, London - New York, 1987 (Novel)
  • Book. Part One (Boek. Deel een), Emmarentia, 1987 (Essays)
  • All One Horse. Fiction and Images, London, 1989
  • Sweet Heart (Hart-Lam), Emmarentia, 1991 (Essays)
  • Return to Paradise. An African journal, London - New York, 1992
  • The Memory of Birds in Times of Revolution, London - New York, 1996 (Essays)
  • Dog Heart. A travel memoir, Cape Town, 1998
  • Word Work (Woordwerk), Cape Town, 1999

External links

de:Breyten Breytenbach gl:Breyten Breytenbach nl:Breyten Breytenbach

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