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Andre Brink and Antjie Krog Discuss Philida at Kalk Bay Books

Antjie Krog and André Brink

Ann Donald welcomed a throng of fans to Kalk Bay Books last week for the launch of Philida, saying what a delight it was to celebrate a new novel by the renowned author, André Brink. “Philida is a woman who is unforgettable, who will never be forgotten thanks to this book. What a beautiful character, what a beautiful book,” she said, thanking the author for writing it.

André BrinkPhilidaAntjie Krog lauded Brink, whom she described as an extremely gifted person whose role in Afrikaans literature was hardly fathomable. “Apart from his resistance to apartheid, the sharp way in which he would formulate that resistance – a language needs a vocabulary to resist. We didn’t have Malema, we had Brink! It’s important to have somebody of this giftedness to be able to formulate resistance. Not only in his personal capacity, but in his work.”

She referred to a book that changed people’s lives, Kennis van die aand, facilitating changed perceptions, enabling people to conceive of other possibilities. “This was the first book that did this publicly in Afrikaans,” she said. Krog also praised his contribution as a reviewer of Afrikaans literature, coming to the works he reviewed having read very widely and significantly influencing the evolution of Afrikaans literature.

Krog referred to the eccentric couple, Marjorie Wallace and Jan Rabie, who lived very humbly in Onrus. Often Brink, concerned for their welfare, would buy them food. “But when they died there was this enormous pile of money,” that was given to UWC to create a writing bursary to assist Afrikaans writers working on important books to do so unhindered for a year or two. “Not a single Afrikaans writer didn’t apply for that enormous amount of money. It was given to André for the very interesting and promising proposal.”

Brink addressed the theme of slavery that has woven through his oeuvre, speaking in glowing terms of the significant research that has been done at the Solms-Delta heritage Museum van de Caab, where he had been generously assisted by historian Tracey Randle.

The fascinating conversation between Krog and Brink was followed by an equally engaging Q&A session, in which audience members expressed their enthusiasm at the release of this new work of fiction.

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Liesl Jobson tweeted from the launch using #livebooks:

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