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Antjie Krog
Antjie Krog 2019
Antjie Krog 2019
Born 23 October 1952 (1952-10-23) (age 68)
South Africa
Occupation Writer, poet, Journalist
Language Afrikaans
Nationality South African
Alma mater University of Pretoria
Spouse John Samuel
Children Andries, Susan, Philip and Willem

Antjie Krog (born 23 October 1952) is a South African poet, academic, and writer. In 2004, she joined the Arts faculty of the University of the Western Cape.

Early life

Born into an Afrikaner family of writers in Kroonstad, Orange Free State, South Africa, she grew up on a farm, attending primary and secondary school in the area. In 1970, at the height of John Vorster's apartheid years, she penned an anti-apartheid poem for her school magazine: Gee vir my 'n land waar swart en wit hand aan hand, vrede en liefde kan bring in my mooi land (Give me a land where black and white hand in hand, Can bring peace and love to my beautiful land) scandalising her conservative Afrikaans-speaking community and bringing the attention of the national media to her parents' doorstep:

In 1973 she earned a BA (Hons mwa) degree in English from the University of the Orange Free State, and an MA in Afrikaans from the University of Pretoria in 1976. With a teaching diploma from the University of South Africa (UNISA) she would lecture at a segregated teacher's training college for black South Africans.


Described by her contemporary Joan Hambidge "as the Pablo Neruda of Afrikaans", Krog would publish her first book of verse, Dogter van Jefta (Daughter of Jephta) at the age of seventeen. Within the next two years she published a second collection titled: Januarie-suite (January Suite). Since then she has published several further volumes, one in English. Much of her poetry deals with love, apartheid, the role of women, and the politics of gender. Her work has been translated into English, Dutch and several other languages.


Later, Krog would edit the now-defunct, independent Afrikaans journal Die Suid-Afrikaan, co-founded by Hermann Giliomee in 1984. On the strength of her work there, she was invited to join the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) by Pippa Green, head of radio news. For two years, reporting as Antjie Samuel, she contributed to the radio programme AM Live with items on South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Of the commission she said:

If its interest is linked only to amnesty and compensation, then it will have chosen not truth, but justice. If it sees truth as the widest possible compilation of people's perceptions, stories, myths and experiences, it will have chosen to restore memory and foster a new humanity, and perhaps that is justice in its deepest sense.

When the TRC hearings were completed in 1997, Krog took up the post of Parliamentary Editor at SABC.

Prose writer

She is best known for her book Country of My Skull, which chronicled the TRC. With Krog's reluctant permission, the book was later dramatised for the screen by Ann Peacock resulting in a film of the same name. Released in the United States as In My Country, it stars Samuel L. Jackson and Juliette Binoche. While the film was thought to have its "heart and politics in the right place" it was otherwise panned by the Washington Post as a "formula romance", in which Binoche fails at the Afrikaans accent and Jackson's character, Langston Whitfield, lacks credibility as a Post reporter.

A Change of Tongue, her second work of prose in English, recounts ten years of evolution after South Africa's first democratic elections. A post-modern blend of fiction, poetry, and reportage it explores the surprising and predictable changes that South Africans have made since abandoning apartheid. At times humorous, she weaves strands of autobiography with the stories of others to document struggles for identity, truth and salvation. The title of the book has political and private meanings: the diminishing role of Afrikaans in public discourse is reflected in her own flight into English as the vernacular of her work.

There was this goat, written with Nosisi Mpolweni and Kopano Ratele and published by UKZN Press in March 2009, investigates the Truth Commission testimony of Notrose Nobomvu Konile.

Private life

She is married to architect John Samuel and has four children: Andries, Susan, Philip, and Willem; Six grandchildren: Anouk, Antjie, Jana, Philip, Susie and Antjie.

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