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The children of the Red House
The children of the
Red House in Idas Valley
Photo by Willem Malherbe
- click for enlargement

Elsa Joubert

Elsa Joubert

Novelist, Author of Poppy Nongena and other books

Her works are inspired by Africa and the conflicts of its recent history.

Elsabé Antoinette Murray was born on 19 October 1922 in Paarl where she grew up and matriculated. She studied at the universities of Stellenbosch (B.A. (1942) and S.O.D.) and Cape Town ( M.A. in Nederlands-Afrikaans).
She was a teacher at the Hoër Meisieskool in Cradock and then worked as editor for Die Huisgenoot for two years (1946-1948).
From then on she became a full time writer. She rose to world fame with her novel, Die swerfjare van Poppie Nongena, which was translated into 13 languages and also staged as a drama.
Elsa Joubert was married to the journalist and writer Klaas Steytler in 1950 and lives in Oranjezicht, Cape Town. She has two daughters and a son. Klaas died in 1998.


Elsa Joubert is a fellow of the British Royal Society of Literature. She received an honorary doctorate from Stellenbosch University in 2001.
Eugène Marais Prize for Ons wag op die kaptein 1964
CNA Prize for Bonga 1971
W.A. Hofmeyr Prize, for Poppy Nongena 1979
W.A. Hofmeyr Prize and Hertzog Prize for Die reise van Isobelle
Louis Luyt- and die CNA Prize 1997
Winifred Holtby price of the British Royal Society.
Olivier award for the best play (London)
Obi award for best script (New York)
Hertzog Prize for Prose 1998
Order of Ikhamanga in Silver 2004
Recht Malan Prize for nonfiction and
Via Afrika Literary Award 2010 for Reisiger
Word artist 2011 (WOORDtroFEES)
Louis Hiemstra Price for non-fiction, 2011
2013 winner of the ACT Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature, sponsored by Media24 Books


Water en woestyn (Uganda en Kaïro), Dagbreek Boekhandel, 1957
Die verste reis (Wes-Europa), 1959
Suid van die wind (Madagaskar), 1962
Ons wag op die kaptein - To die at sunset, Tafelberg, 1963
Die staf van Monomotapa (Mosambiek), 1964
Swerwer in die Herfsland (Oos-Europa), 1968
Die nuwe Afrikaan (Angola), Tafelberg, 1974
Gordel van Smarag (Indonesië), Tafelberg, 1997

Novels and Short Stories:
Die Wahlerbrug, Tafelberg, 1969
Bonga, Tafelberg, 1971
Die swerfjare van Poppie Nongena, Tafelberg, 1978 - The long journey of Poppie Nongena (1980)
translated into 13 languages and also put to the stage as drama.
Melk (Short Stories), Tafelberg, 1980
Die laaste Sondag - The last Sunday, Tafelberg, 1983
Poppie - die drama, (co-author Sandra Kotzé), 1984
Die Vier Vriende En Ander Verhale Uit Afrika<, 1985 - The four friends and other tales from Africa, Tafelberg, 1987 (children's book, illustrated by Cora Coetzee)
Missionaris, 1988
Dansmaat (Short Stories), Tafelberg, 1993
Die reise van Isobelle, Tafelberg, 1955 - Isobelle's Journey
Twee Vroue, Tafelberg, 2002
'n Wonderlike geweld, Auto Biography, 2005
Reisiger, Tafelberg, 2009
The hunchback missionary, Jonathan Ball, 2014
A Lion on the Landing : Memories of a South African Youth, Tafelberg, 2014
Spertyd, Tafelberg, 2017


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