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Painting by Trienke Laurie

Marié Opperman
Marié van Reenen

1918 -1999

Marié Opperman

Author and translator of children's stories, fairy tales and Zulu stories

Marié Opperman, née Van Reenen, was born on 19 November 1918 and grew up in Vryheid. She spoke Zulu fluently. Marié studied Sciences at the University of Pretoria (BSc) as it was easier to obtain a position as Science teacher at the time.
She was married to the poet Dirk Opperman in 1942. They had three daughters: Heila, Trienke and Diederi.
Marié Opperman worked for the radio and wrote children's programmes. She contributed to "Vir die-Huisvrou", with articles - among others - on women poets.She combined fund-raising schemes for the ACVV (a charitable society of Afrikaner women) with the preservation of Afrikaans culture by innovative projects including:
the making of a record of traditional nursery songs by the "Vrolike Vinkies" ("Joyful Finches") of Vesta Oelofsen;
an authors' evening, where celebrated authors read from their own work and their handwritten manuscripts were auctioned;
a jolly old-fashioned debate involving notable wits like Professor Charlie Fensham.
She was the driving force behind the establishment of a co-educational high school at Stellenbosch.

Marié Opperman died on 24th of August 1999.


Zulu Stories, translated and retold:
Die Opraak van die Vuur, 1975
Mbodse en die Langsnoekheksie, 1977
Die Kraaie en die Ryk Kaptein, 1977

Marié Opperman translated Anderson's Fairytales from Danish in seven volumes, 1963-1968. Some of her children's verses appeared in Die Nuwe Kleuterverseboek by DJ Opperman.

Text by Trienke and Dirk Laurie, July 2002

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