In Memoriam André Brink


In Memoriam André Brink

De Zuid-Afrikaanse schrijver André Brink is vrijdagavond aan boord van een KLM-vlucht van Amsterdam naar Kaapstad overleden. Brink was op de terugweg van België, waar hij een eredoctoraat van de Universiteit van Leuven toegekend had gekregen. André Brink werd geboren op 29 mei 1935 in Vrede. Hij is 79 jaar geworden. Zie ook alle tags voor André Brink op dit blog.

Uit: A dry white season

“For some time he was houseboy for a rich Jewish family in Houghton; later he found a better paid job as messenger for a firm of attorneys in the city, and then as an assistant in a bookshop. Somehow he managed to keep up his reading and the manager of the bookshop, pleased by his interest, helped him to continue his studies. In this way he eventually passed Standard Four.
At that stage Gordon went back to the Transkei. A traumatic experience, as it turned out, since there was no work for him back home, apart from lending a hand with the paltry farming activities of a great-uncle: planting maize, scouring the veld with a lean dog in search of hares for meat, sitting in the sun in front of the hut. He’d left the city because he couldn’t stand life there any more; but it proved to be worse on the farm. There was something fretful and desultory in his blood after the years he’d been away. All the money he’d brought with him had gone into lobola — the dowry for a wife; and barely a year after his arrival in the Transkei he returned to the only place he really knew, Johannesburg, Gouthini. After a brief unsettled spell he landed at Ben’s school.
One after another his children were born: in Alexandra, then Moroka, then Orlando. The eldest was Jonathan, his favourite. From the outset Gordon had resolved to rear his son in the traditions of his tribe. And when Jonathan turned fourteen he was sent back to the Transkei to be circumcised and initiated.
A year later Jonathan — or Sipho, which Gordon said was his “real” name-was back, no longer a kwedini but a man. Gordon had always spoken about this day. From now on he and his son would be allies, two men in the house. There was no lack of friction, since Jonathan obviously had a mind of his awn; but on the main issue they agreed: Jonathan would go to school for as long as possible. And it was just after he’d passed Standard Six and secondary school was becoming an expensive business, that they turned to Ben for help.”


André Brink (29 mei 1935 – 6 februari 2015)