Herman Charles Bosman

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Herman Charles Bosman (1905-1951) [1] was a South African writer, dramatist and journalist


Bosman was born near Cape Town but grew up and lived in the Transvaal for most of his life. In 1926, while on holiday at home from his new teaching post on a farm school near Zwingli in the Marico District, he was arrested and subsequently convicted for the murder of his step-brother. He was condemned to hang on death row, but his sentence was commuted to hard labour and he was eventually released after four years in prison. His unique account of this time was published as Cold Stone Jug in 1949.

After his release on parole in 1930, he worked as a journalist in Johannesburg. In 1934 he left for London, returning to South Africa in 1940, following the outbreak of war across Europe. It was during this time in London that Bosman wrote the bulk of stories that were eventually published as Mafeking Road in 1947. Bosman became quite famous for these short stories that were set against the background of the Marico district in Western Transvaal and introduced one of South Africa's most endearing fictional characters, "Oom Schalk Lourens". In the same year, Bosman published his first novel, Jacaranda in the Night.

Bosman also wrote under the pseudonyms Will-o'-the-Wisp, Ben Eath, Ben Africa, Ben Onion, Ferdinand Fandango, Herman Malan or simply as H.C.B.

Bosman died of heart failure in 1951 at the age of forty-six.


Bosman was educated at Jeppe High School and the University of the Witwatersrand, where he trained as a teacher.


He wrote three short one-act plays:

Adaptations of other writing

A number of Bosman's works have been dramatised, notably of course the popular "Oom Schalk Lourens" series of short stories done as one-man shows by Patrick Mynhardt: beginning with A Sip of Jerepigo (1969); More Jerepigo, (1973); Just Jerepigo, or A Sundowner with Oom Schalk (19??); Another Sip of Jerepigo (1989); and Tjeerio Jerepigo (2003). Other performers who have done these stories include Percy Sieff, David Muller and Paul Luckhoff (Oom Schalk Lourens Se Mampoerstories, 2015)

Other dramatizations of his works include:



De Beer, 1995;

Gosher, 1988;

Gray 200*;

MacKenzie, C. (ed). 2003. Young Bosman - The Anniversary Edition. Human & Rousseau.

Mynhardt, P. 1981. The Bosman I Like - a personal selection. Human & Rousseau.

Mynhardt, P. 2005. Celebrating Bosman. Wits University Press.

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