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DA PAYS TRIBUTE TO DALENE MATTHEE (article first published : 2005-02-21)

Is there a single South African who, on fumbling through their attempts to learn Afrikaans at school, didn't thrill to the story of Fiela se Kind? The Afrikaans community has lost a literary icon in Dalene Matthee.

This prolific writer wrote her dozen books in Afrikaans, and they were translated into other languages around the world. The fact that her 1984 novel Kringe in 'n Bos (Circles in a Forest) - the first of her initial forest trilogy - was reprinted 22 times, and that she received the SA Institute for Forestry Award for giving the Knysna forests international publicity, showed that she was a writer in touch with the issues of the time.

The fact that South African artists should learn simultaneously of Dalene Matthee's death, and of this country winning the best film award at the Berlin film Festival for uCarmen eKhayelitsha has caused mixed feelings of sadness and joy.




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