Anthony Delius

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Anthony Delius (1916-1989) was a South African journalist, political commentator, poet, author and playwright.


He was born Anthony Ronald St Martin Delius at Simonstown at the end of the first World War and was educated at St Aidan's College and Rhodes University in Grahamstown. Married to Tina and the couple had two children.

Having finished his studies, he became a reporter in Port Elizabeth. In 1940 he joined the South African Military Intelligence for the duration of the war. After his return he returned to journalism, helping to found the Evening Post in Port Elizabeth, before joining the Cape Times in Cape Town. Besides travelling widely as a reporter in Africa, as well as the USA and Europe, he also lectured in African Government at the University of Cape Town.

He was a highly regarded political commentator and strongly opposed to the Nationalist government, which led to numerous clashes withy the government, especially in his period as parliamentary reporter. Besides his work with the Cape Times, he also wrote as correspondent for several international papers, including the New York Reporter, The Manchester Guardian, the BBC and The Washington Post. In 1967, with the pressure mounting, he left south Africa to settle in the UK, working full-time for the BBC, though still continuing with a column in the Cape Times for many years.

His writing includes a number of books of poetry and prose, e.g. The Last Division (1959), The Day Natal Took Off: A Satire (1963), Border: A Novel (1976), The Young Traveller in South Africa (1949), The Paperbook of South African English Poetry (1984) Upsurge in Africa (1960),

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

He wrote two plays, of which only the first, The Fall: A Play about Rhodes, was performed and published in 1960. The first English play to be done at the newly refurbished National Theatre in Pretoria as part of the 1960 Union Festival celebrations, it was performed by the National Theatre Organisation and published by Human and Rousseau.

His second play, The Day of the Ancestors was never published.

Awards, etc

Winner of the Roy Campbell Prize for Poetry (1959) the Thomas Pringle Award (1976), and the CNA Literary Award (1976)


Gerald Shaw. 1999. The Cape Times: An Informal History - Google E-book[1]

Anthony Delius, Border: A Novel - Google E-book[2]

The Fall theatre programme (NTO) 1960.

"Anthony Delius" in Gareth Cornwell, Dirk Klopper and Craig Mackenzie. 2012. The Columbia Guide to South African Literature in English Since 1945 (page 83) - Google E-book[3]

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