H. van der Merwe Scholtz

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There are two Afrikaans academics by this name, father and son.

H. van der Merwe Scholtz (Snr, 18*-19*)

Academic, critic, translator.


Born Hendrik van der Merwe Scholtz

Studied at the University of Utrecht,

He joined the staff of the then Grey University College in 1927, and after the institution became the University College of the Orange Free State (UKOVS) in 1935. Van der Merwe Scholtz was professor of Dutch language and literature from 1931 to 1945. From 1946 to 1958 he was Rector of the university.

He was the father of the academic, translator, critic and cultural leader H. van der Merwe Scholtz (Merwe) Scholtz.

Contribution to South African theatre and performance

He was involved with the Grey University Kollege Toneelvereniging, taking the students on tour in the Orange Free State with plays in 1929 and 1930. He also translated some plays for them to use, including the Dutch play Die Parlementslid ("The Member of Parliament") by **.

In 1937 he became the convenor of the Toneelburo ("theatre bureau") of the F.A.K..

Merwe Scholtz (1924 - 2005)

Influential Afrikaans academic, linguist, translator, critic and cultural leader.


The son of H. van der Merwe Scholtz (Snr.), he was born Hendrik van der Merwe Scholtz on 8 July, 1924 at Utrecht, Holland, while his father was studying there. Most commonly referred to simply as Merwe Scholtz.

He studied for a B.A degree at Unisa, and then completed further studies at the University of Potchefstroom for CHE (MA) and the University of Amsterdam, obtaining his D. Litt. et Phil. degree in 1950.

In 1950 he became a senior lecturer (and later Associate Professor) at the University of Pretoria. In 1959 he was appointed Professor of Afrikaans Linguistics, Culture and History at the University of Amsterdam, and in 1966 returned to become Professor of Afrikaans Linguistics at the University of Capetown and finally Professor at the Department Afrikaans and Dutch, Stellenbosch University (1979 - 1986).

In addition to his work on literary theory, Merwe Scholtz compiled poetry collections (e.g. of Opperman,Totius, Leipold and A G Visser).

He was the Chairman of the Literary Committee of the SA Academy for many years.

Married to Rita Karstel in 1948 and they had three sons.

Contribution to South African theatre and performance

He and his wife were both members of the Publications Committee (1963-1977) and he was a member of the control boards of both NTO, CAPAB and the SABC, and was known for his strong opposition to internal censorship within these organizations. He also wrote reviews and articles on cultural matters for Die Burger newspaper.

As a creative writer he translated some Greek plays into Afrikaans, including Aristophanes' The Frogs (as Die Paddas, published in Johannesburg by Perskor, 1978) and Aeschylus's The Oresteia (performed by PACT in 1981).

He seems to be the "Scholtz" listed as one of the "aandadiges" ("those responsible for") for the play Hiert Jou Bliksem! in 1998.





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