Rayne Kruger

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Charles Rayne Kruger (1922-2002) Writer, historian and businessman.


Born in Queenstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa. After leaving Jeppe High School in Johannesburg, he spent a year at Witwatersrand University, then joined Johannesburg’s leading law firm, Bowen, Sessel and Goudvis, as an articled clerk in 1942. He also became involved in amateur theatricals, joining the company run by Margaret Inglis and Nan Munro. When war broke out he abandoned the law firm to enlist in the British Merchant Navy as a steward, sailing from Durban on an oil tanker.

In the May 1944 issue of the journal Libertas he and Gerald McKnight published an article pleading for a National Theatre for South Africa, which they called a "cultural need" for the country (Kruger, Rayne & McKnight, Gerald 1944. A National theatre: South Africa's great cultural need. Libertas,4(6):18-37.).

Returning to Johannesburg in 1945, Kruger completed his law studies, and, he was planning to write, resumed his association with Nan Munro’s company. Munro’s husband had been killed in 1944 and during a tour of Pygmalion, (with the 24-year old Kruger as Professor Higgins and the 40-year-old Munro as Eliza), the two principals fell in love. They sailed for England with Munro’s three children, and were married the following year in London. Munro resumed her West End career, while Kruger took a job reading the news on the BBC World Service, and began writing short stories and novels. He also wrote a play about Dr James Barry, The Green Box, as a vehicle for Munro. In 1959 he published Good-bye Dolly Gray, his classic history of the Boer War.

Kruger formed a property company, Sohox Partners, developing office buildings and flats in Soho, Regent’s Park and Kensington. He was also a founding partner, with David English and Gerald McKnight, of the first free-distribution newspapers in England, the Orpington News Shopper and its spin-offs.

Kruger separated from Nan Munro in 1973, and married famous food expert, Prue Leith, the daughter of Margaret Inglis, in October 1974.


Various entries in the NELM catalogue.

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