Born Peter Emil Julius Blum on 4 Mei 1925 in Europe (he claimed a number of birthplaces, including Triëst, Vienna, even Berlin), to a German-speaking family. According to Tony Voss (Tydskrif vir Letterkunde, 52 (1), p.18-19) “the poet may have been schooled in Berlin, or elsewhere in Germany, and in Switzerland. In his youth he knew Split, the town of Diocletian, about whom he wrote in later life, and he had travelled in Croatia. The ambience of his youth was multi-lingual: German, Slavic languages, Italian, and early education in Latin. Later he studied French and made distinguished translations of Baudelaire and Apollinaire into Afrikaans”
The family moved to South Africa in 1937 and matriculated from an English-medium school in Durban, then studied at the University of Stellenbosch and and worked as a librarian in Cape Town and the Free State. He would ultimately produce two volumes of Afrikaans verse, Steenbok tot poolsee (“Capricorn to Polar Sea”) and Enklaves van die lig (“Enclaves of the Light”) were published in 1955 and 1958 respectably, before he left South Africa with his wife Hettie, never to return, and died in London in 1990.
His contribution to South African theatre
He wrote only one play, an (unpublished and unperformed) work based on an incident in the life of the emperor Diocletian and (possibly) called Diocletianus.
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