Writer, poet Adam Small dies

2016-06-25 14:07

Cape Town - Well known South African poet and writer Adam Small (79) died early on Saturday, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille said in a message of condolences.

"It is with great sadness that I have learnt of the passing of one of our county's dear sons, Adam Small in the early hours of this morning," De Lille said.

"As a writer and poet, Small used his craft to highlight the oppression suffered by the working class under the apartheid regime.

"His works and writing were distinctly characterised by the Kaaps vernacular which he discovered when his family moved to Retreat," she said of the Wellington-born cultural icon.

"Rest in peace Adam Small. We will always remember you for your great contribution to literature and the struggle."

Small was born in the small Western Cape town on 21 December 1936. His family later moved to Goree outside Robertson where his father was a teacher.

In a biography on its website, publisher Tafelberg said Small matriculated in 1953 at St Columbas High School in Athlone on the Cape Flats. 

He studied for a degree in languages and philosophy at the University of Cape Town and completed an MA Cum Laude in the philosophy of Nicolai Hartmann and Friedrich Nietzsche.

He also studied at the University of London and the University of Oxford and lectured philosophy at the University of Fort Hare. He was also one of the founders of the University of the Western Cape (UWC).

In the early 1970s he joined the Black Consciousness Movement and was pressured to leave UWC but eventually returned in 1984.

Small was lauded for his writings in Afrikaans which captured the despair of apartheid. 
His writings were among the few literary insights the apartheid syllabus permitted into the conditions that poor and black South Africans were forced to live under.

Analysing his poems gave enlightened teachers a rare opportunity to hold discussions on the oppression of the majority of South Africans.

He was also held up as an example of Afrikaans not just being a language of oppression.

His books included ''Klawerjas'', ''The Orange Earth'', ''Goree'' and ''Kô lat ons sing''.

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