P.J. Nienaber

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(1/10/1910-24/5/1995) Academic, literary historian and archivist. Born near Boshof in the Orange Free State, high school in Boshof, M.A in Afrikaans Literature from Grey University College in Bloemfontein, doctorate from the Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam in 1938. Taught at the University of the Witwatersrand from 1936 to 1970. An avid (and, to some, unscrupulous) collector of books and documents, he was a key figure in the founding of a documentation system for literature and the arts in the country. Chairman of the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns (1965-67) and a board member of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC - 1969-1973), he persuaded the HSRC to create the Nasionale Dokumentasiesentrum vir Afrikaanse Letterkunde in 1969, becoming the first Curator in 1970. In 1971 he expanded it to include Centres for Music, Creative Arts and Performing Arts (with P.P.B. Breytenbach as first Curator of the latter section). In 1973 he moved to Bloemfontein to establish Nasionale Afrikaanse Letterkunde Museum en Dokumentasiesentrum (NALN - "Afrikaans National Literary Museum and Documentation Centre") in Bloemfontein, which included a Toneelmuseum ("theatre museum") and Musiekmuseum ("music museum"). He was made the first Director and served till 1987 (gradually expanding his position to that of Director of Provincial Museums, and setting up twelve more rpovincial museums.) In 197* he also helped found the National English Literary Museum (NELM) in Grahamstown (first Director André De Villiers). Author of more than 500 books and 1000 articles, notably works on the Afrikaans language struggle, the literary history of Afrikaans and collections of stories, plays, poetry and articles by Afrikaans authors. In this way he made an immense amount of historical material available to other researchers. Among his most influential publications were ***, [TH]

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