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Cicely van Straten

Cicely van Straten

Author of children's books

Cicely Anne van Straten, née Luck, was born on 6 March 1947 in Fort Hare. She grew up in East and South Africa and the UK. Here formative years were spent mostly in Kenya where her grandparents were settler farmers, and in Uganda where her father was connected with Makerere University.
Her family's African roots as well her grandfather's anthropological researches in Kenya in the 1920's have given her a fascination with African folklore and mythology which is mirrored in her writing and her research. Her Master's dissertation, The Fairytale as paradigm of inner transformation: a comparative study of European and African tales (University of Pretoria 1996), is concerned with the rich folkloric culture of South Africa which has been lost to many of its children during a period of rapid cultural change.
From a young age Cecily was absorbed by fantasy writing and she acknowledges a debt to the works of the Grimms, Andrew Lang, George Mc Donals, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Roger Lancelyn Green, Padraic Colum and Roemary Sutcliffe and others. She would like to see emerge fantasy literature that is truly African in its setting for the children of Africa. She has contributed to seminars and conferences on topics, such as 'Black children need books'.
Cicely writes in English and many of her books are translated into other South African languages, including Afrikaans, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Tsonga, Venda and Zulu.
Cicely enjoys gardening, hiking and music. She was married to the Afrikaans author, Ampie van Straten, and has three sons. Cicely lives in Stellenbosch.


Fesito Goes to Market, Juventus, 1979
Kaninu's Secret, Juventus, 1979
The Dung Beetle and the Fish Eagle, Human & Rousseau, 1982
Hinkum and Pinkum, Juventus, 1982
Tajewo and the Sacred Mountain, Juventus, 1983
Flowers of the Thorn, Lowry, 1986
Huberta's journey, Tafelberg, 1988
Torit of the Strong Right Arm, Human & Rousseau, 1992
The Warrior's Star, Queillerie, 1995
Quest for the Sacred Stone, Oxford University Press, 2000
A Pot of Magic, Bird Publishers, 2005
The Throwaway Dog
Double Trouble for Josh Mabaso
Caddy for a Crook

Fesito Goes to Market and
Kaninu's Secret have since been reissued in one volume as The great Snake of Kalungu, Juventus, Kagiso

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