Antjie Krog (1952-). Poet, journalist, playwright, performer and academic.
Born Anna Elizabeth (Antjie) Krog in Kroonstad, Orange Free State, South Africa, into an Afrikaner family of writers. (Her mother was Dot Serfontein.) She grew up on a farm, attending primary and secondary school in the area. In 1973 she earned a BA (Hons) degree in English from the University of the Orange Free State, and an MA in Afrikaans from the University of Pretoria in 1976. With a teaching diploma from the University of South Africa (UNISA) she would lecture at a segregated teacher’s training college for black South Africans.
She later became the editor of the independent Afrikaans journal Die Suid-Afrikaan. On the strength of her work there, she was invited to join the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). For two years, reporting as Antjie Samuel, she contributed to the radio programme AM Live with items on South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Based on this experience she wrote what is possibly her best known book, Country of My Skull, which chronicled the TRC and was later staged and filmed.
In 2004 she joined the Arts faculty of the University of the Western Cape as extraordinary Professor of Literature and Philosophy.
Briefly married to pianist Albie van Schalkwyk, she married architect John Samuel in 1976 and the couple have four children: Andries, Susan, Philip, and Willem, as well as four grandchildren: Anouk, Antjie, Jana and Phillip.
Her contribution to South African theatre
While lecturing at a segregated teacher's training college for black South Africans, she led creative workshops and contributed to the workshopped texts and performances by her students at various events.
Her first and only formal drama text was Waarom is dié wat voor toi-toi altyd so vet? ("Why are those who toyi-toyi in the lead always so fat?"), a piece created at the behest of actress Tess van Staden. It was first performed at Aardklop in 1999, directed by marthinus Basson, with was considered a powerful contribution to South Africa's ongoing political debate about reconciliation.
2001: Tom Lanoye's Dutch play Mamma Medea, under the same title, in 2001. First performed in 2002 at the Aardklop festival, directed by Marthinus Basson and published as Mamma Medea: na Apollonios van Rhodos en Euripides by Queillerie Publishers in 2002.
In October/November 2006 she and the Belgian performance poet Tom Lanoye undertook a combined stage tour of Flanders, the Netherlands and South Africa. It was a dynamic two-hander performance, focusing on language linkages, which received excellent reviews and was a continuation of earlier instances of collaboration between the two artists.
She has received numerous honorary doctorates and literary and journalism awards over the years, including the prestigious Hertzogprys (Hertzog Prize, 1990); the Foreign Correspondent Award (1996) and the Pringle Award (1996) and the Alan Paton Award (1996), the Proteaprys vir poësie (Protea Prize for Poetry, 2007), ATKV-Prestigetoekenning (ATKV Prestige Award, 2009).
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