Mattheus Uys Krige was born on 4 February 1910 on the farm Bontebokskloof near
Swellendam. His father was the famous Springbok rugby centre, Japie Krige. Uys
attended school in Cape Town and Stellenbosch and studied Law at Stellenbosch
After his studies he worked as editor of the Rand Daily Mail in Johannesburg.
He moved to France and Spain in 1931 earning his living playing professional rugby and writing for newspapers, including a rugby newspaper. He also served as a lifeguard.
When he returned to South Africa in 1935 he worked as a journalist and was on the editorial boards of Vandag and Contrast.
Uys married actor Lydia Lindeque in 1937, which stimulated his interest in theatre.
During World War II he followed the allies as a war- correspondent to North Africa. He was taken prisoner by the Germans and held for two years in a prisoner camp in Italy before he managed to escape. Italian farmers and shepherds helped him to hide in the mountains until he was able to make contact with the allied troops (Described in The way out, 1946). For several months he roamed Europe, especially Italy, France and England, as a military observer for the allies.
Back in South Africa he dedicated his time mainly to writing and settled first in Johannesburg, then in Cape Town and Onrusrivier, where he lived for the last 18 years of his life. His friends, Marjorie and Jan Rabie lived in nearby Vermont.
Krige often travelled to Europe and - having received a Carnegie bursary - he visited the USA in 1955.
Uys Krige was a distinguished translator into
Afrikaans of French and Spanish poetry. He also translated Molière and
He died on 10 August 1987 in Onrusrivier.
Uys Krige was 'n besondere figuur in die Afrikaanse letterkunde. Hy was die eerste sogenaamde boheemse kunstenaar hier en meer kosmopoliet as enige van sy tydgenote. Hy was die eerste Afrikaanse skrywer wat hom deur sy politieke uitsprake van die regeringsbeleid van daardie jare gedistansieer het. Heelwat van sy werk het ontstaan buite die grense van sy vaderland. Krige het bekendheid verwerf deur sy gedigte, prosaverhale, reissketse en dramatiese werk.
Magdalena Retief, 1938
Alle paaie gaan na Rome
Die Palmboom, 1940
Na die Maluti's
Tussen die wit huis
Wat sing die see?
Die see sing,
O sinnebeeld van die altyd
Sy stap in vuur nakend