Iconic SA author Elsa Joubert was ‘a pioneer – ahead of her time’

Iconic SA author Elsa Joubert was ‘a pioneer – ahead of her time’


: ” is a tour de force, a cinematic feat, a South African story told with empathy, grace, bold ferocity, and fearlessness. It’s a powerful fist in the air that shows defiance of our past, a reminder that we have a lot to heal from, and there’s still a long path ahead of us.”

Johanthan Ball Publishers reports that Elsa received numerous awards during her career including the Hertzog Prize (probably the most prestigious award for Afrikaans writing). Elsa was also awarded an honourary doctorate by the University of Stellenbosch. has been voted one of the top 100 best books of the 20th century.

In May, Elsa wrote an open letter published on Netwerk24 pleading to be able to see her relatives as she was in the “last months and weeks” of her life. “I’m suffering. Telephone calls, and videos, and Skype, and much more help, but it’s not enough. It’s not the same,” she wrote in the letter addressed to her house doctor Hans Woermann.

Etienne Bloemhof, publisher at NB Publishers, expressed his shock at the news of Elsa’s death, saying:

“In the time I had the honour of working with Elsa I became deeply aware of her open spirit and staggering intellect, and yes, her humbleness. She would with great detail tell stories from 80, 90 years ago and then effortlessly switch back to current affairs. There are truly not enough words to pay tribute to her legacy.”

Eloise Wessels, head of NB Publishers, in a statement released online added: “Elsa Joubert was a pioneer, she was ahead of her time. She successfully reached her own people with her political message – something that evaded other Afrikaans writers. Apart from the cultural and political dimensions of her work it also carried a powerful human element.”

According to South African History Online, Elsa, born Elsabe Antoinette Murray Joubert, was born on 19 October 1922 in Paarl where she grew up, and studied at the universities of Stellenbosch (BA and SOD) and Cape Town (MA in Afrikaans-Nederlands).

“Within two years of starting a career as a high school teacher in Cradock she became editor of Die Huisgenoot (1946-1948) and thereafter a full-time writer. Since then Joubert wrote numerous novels, short stories, travelogues and plays,” the site reports.

In an interview with Die Burger that was published on 8 December 2001, Elsa is quoted as saying: “The longest journey that any person can undertake is from one human to another, through their heart.”

Elsa was married to the late journalist and writer, Klaas Steytler. She leaves behind two daughters, Elsabe and Henriëtte, and a son Nico, reports Litnet.

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Published at Mon, 15 Jun 2020 06:12:10 +0000