Breyten Breytenbach honoured in Poland

2017-05-26 11:06
South African writer and anti-apartheid activist Breyten Breytenbach. (Euzebiusz NIEMIEC / AFP)

South African writer and anti-apartheid activist Breyten Breytenbach. (Euzebiusz NIEMIEC / AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Warsaw -South African writer and anti-apartheid activist Breyten Breytenbach received the 2017 Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award, named after the anti-communist Polish poet and philosopher, at a ceremony in Warsaw, Poland on Thursday.

"Staying true to your ideals is a challenge, but the life of this year's laureate demonstrates that it is worth it to be faithful," said Katarzyna Herbert, the poet's widow.

Born in Cape Town in 1939, Breytenbach left South Africa for Paris in the early 1960s after becoming an opponent of apartheid.

He married in France but since his wife was of Vietnamese descent, he was unable to return to South Africa, where so-called mixed-race marriages were illegal.

Breytenbach however did return to his homeland in secret to engage in the anti-apartheid struggle, but was discovered and jailed.

French President Francois Mitterrand helped secure his release in 1982. He then returned to France where he became a citizen.

Breytenbach has published some 50 books, including The True Confession of an Albino Terrorist and numerous volumes of poetry, written mainly in his native Afrikaans.

Breytenbach read his poetry at the Warsaw ceremony and also spoke of his affinity with Zbigniew Herbert's work.

Nominated for the Nobel Literature Prize in 1991, Herbert was a potent symbol of Poland's struggle for national independence against the oppressive intentions of its neighbours to the east and west. He died in 1998.

Read more on:    breyten breytenbach  |  poland

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.