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Shaun Viljoen
16 Station Road
Athlone 7780

Shaun Viljoen

Shaun Viljoen

Professor at the English Department, Stellenbosch University
Author of play scripts and English textbooks for primary, secondary schools and for adult learners.

I was born on 2 June 1956 in Athlone, Cape Town, into a working class family with middle class aspirations and one that was engaged in organisations striving for a politics of non-racialism. In 1973 I matriculated at Harold Cressy High School in District Six, then on its knees in the face of apartheid group areas removals. A number of prominent teacher-intellectuals - Helen Kies, Lionel and Maureen Adriaans, Peter Meyer, and Victor Ritchie - developed the politics I was absorbing in the home. I studied English, Drama and Mathematics at the University of Cape Town (UCT) for my BA degree and in 1997 completed the Post Graduate Higher Diploma in Education at UCT. I obtained an MA with distinction in English and Education at the Institute of Education, London University, in 1986. From my high school days till my early thirties I was actively engaged in organisations aligned to the Non-European Unity Movement. I am currently a member of the Boards of the Wilvan School of Dance and the District Six Museum, both located in Cape Town and engaged with reimagining our lives in this fractured city.
I taught English and Mathematics at Cathkin High School in Cape Town (1978 to 1985) and also at Hewat College of Education till, in their infinite wisdom, the post-apartheid government closed Hewat and all teacher training colleges. So in 1997 I started lecturing in the English Department at Wits University and was also responsible for working with postgraduate student-teachers in English pedagogy. In 2001 I started lecturing in the English Department at Stellenbosch University. From 2009 to mid-2011 I was head of the English Department there.
Together with Basil Appollis I scripted adaptations of Richard Rive's novel "Buckingham Palace", District Six for stage productions at the University of Cape Town's Little Theatre (2000) and at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town (2001).Wits Press has published my biography of Richard Rive, the subject of my 2007 doctorate, in 2013.

Favourite books: My all-time favourite author is iconoclast Doris Lessing who would vehemently oppose the idea that a reader could have a single all-time favourite author or even book. Particular books/writers, she believes, speak to us at particular times in our lives.


Give Us Voices - A Book Education Resource for Teachers, Kagiso, 1993
On Track With English Grade 7 (with Wenman, J.), Phumelela, 1997
World Class English, Grades 11&12 (with Brennan, P., Fairburn, E., Sweetman, J., Hubbard, S., Manion, J.), MML, 2000
Richard Rive: A Partial Biography, Wits University Press, 2013

Text by Shaun Viljoen, December 2011

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