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François du Plessis

1918 - 1996

Flooi du Plessis

Author and translator of children's books
Head of Stellenbosch University Library until 1983

François (Flooi) du Plessis was born on 8 January 1918 in Petrusville, where he grew up. He studied at Stellenbosch University (BA 1938). In the following year, while studying for his MA, he was recruited to join the Parliament Library, at the same time attending lectures in Librarianship at the University of Cape Town. In 1943 he was appointed organizer of the Society for Book Distributions, which later became the Cape Library Services. He was also responsible for the Cape Library Extension Association which promoted library services for the Coloured community. He helped develop the Cape Libraries, an organ of the Cape Library Association and was president of the South African Library Association from 1962 to 1964.
He joined Stellenbosch University as sub-librarian in 1945 and lectured in Book Selection and Reference work at the newly established Department of Librarianship (1956 -1961). From 1968 he served as Librarian until retirement at the end of 1983, when he moved with his wife to Clanwilliam.
He took a keen interest in sports, coached a Rugby team and was president of the University's Cricket Club 196? -1975).
He was Editor and publisher of Huis en Haard, the official organ of the W.A.A.C.P.
Memberships:Member of the Student's Council in 1938
Member of the board of the van Riebeeck Society.
Member of the Senate of Stellenbosch University
Member of Intervarsities Library Committee and Convenor of the Northern Cape Regional Committee.

François was married to a member of his staff, Doreen, née Wookey, in 1949, and they had four children, a boy and three girls. In 1960-61 he and his wife toured America, visiting libraries on a USA-South Africa Leader Exchange program.

Awards and Honours:

CP Hoogenhout Prize for Rympieboek vir Kinders (together with the illustrator, Katrine Harries) 1963
In 1992, The Africana room in the University Library was named after him.

His rhymes were included in collections: Verskombers, Storiehuis, Woordpaleis and Opperman's Nuwe Kleuterverseboek. His short stories were published in magazines, including Die Huisgenoot. He translated children' books (some into rhymed Afrikaans)


Rympieboek vir Kinders (illustrations by Katrine Harries), 1963 (2nd edit. 1970)
'n Ding wat byt (77 limerieke, illustrations by Cora Coetzee), 1991

His translations include:
Die eenbeen-kraanvoël, , Human & Rousseau, ca 1960
Ou beweblaar, die populier, HAUM, 1969 (Die alte Linde Gundula by U Kirchberg)
Meester Viljoen, Human & Rousseau, 1983 (Mister Magnolia by Blake)

* **
Lettatjie Louw van Grabouw
Hoewel baie jonk, gaan nou trou
In die karnavaltyd
Het sy met groot vlyt
Aan 'n vlot en 'n nasie gebou.

Information by Doreen du Plessis, September 2004

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