On October 23rd, 1952 Antjie Krog was born on a farm in the Free State of South Africa to a family of writers. (SA History, 2017)
As a young girl, she attended primary and secondary school near her home, worked on the farm, and of course was a writer. In 1970, at the height of apartheid, she published her first piece of poetry to her school magazine:
Give me a land where black and white hand in hand, Can bring peace and love to my beautiful land. (Scholtz, 2000)
Like most of her work, this piece was originally written in Afrikkans and later translated to English.
Krog completed her BA degree with Afrikaans, Philosophy and English at the University of the Orange Freestate in 1973, and later went on to study Afrikkans alone, earning a Masters degree at the University of Pretoria. During this same time, Antjie recieved the Eugene Marais prize in 1973, as well as the Dutch/Flemish and the Reina Prinsen-Geerligs prizes in 1976, all three giving her the title of most promising young writer. These were the first of many great accolades that Antjie would go on to earn. On top of all of this, sh then earned her Teachers diploma at the University of South Africa. (SA History, 2017)
Antjie has had a wonderful and instrumental career. She has published nine volumes of poetry, along with two volumes of children’s verse, a short novel, and most one of her most successful works, a book titled Country of my Skull. Most all of her work deals with recognizing and recreating a loving, unified, unsderstanding world, in South Africa and beyond. In her book, Country of my Skull, she dives deeper than ever into apartheid and post-apartheid matters, and the role of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This book has been greatly prescribed in University curriculums in America and Europe.
More than just writing, Antijie has had some success in playwriting and speaking in South Africa and worldwide. The issues and topics of these other works are those in which she writes about as well; her country, her life, and the lives around her are her greatest influences. For exampl, her first play that was performed in South Africa was about a black and a white woman, both whom were trying to make peace with their past and future.
Because Antjie takes pride in being a major participant in the issues of her country and continent, she uses her ability to read, write, and speak in english to expand her sphere of influence as far as she can. She has given many prominent speeches and lectures across the world, educating people on post-apartheid movements as well as on aspects of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, an major South African unifying organization in which she was a journalist for. Additionally, she was asked to translate Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, into Afrikaans so that his activism could be heard by millions more who needed to hear it. (SA History)
Antjie Krog continues to live a full life in which reading and writing are some of the most important parts of her life. In an interview, when asked which books have changed her life, she responded, “I don’t read books that do not change my life. I expect every novel or poetry volume to shift something in me so that I am a different person by the end of it.” (Aerodrome, 2018) This speaks to her career because she could be described as so many things throughout her life: poet, speaker, journalist, novelist, prose writer, activist, and more.
Currently, Antjie is a wife to John Samuel, a mother to four children, and a grandmother to six grandchildren.
Viljoen, Louise. “SOUTH AFRICA.” Antjie Krog (Poet) – South Africa – Poetry International, Poetry International Rotterdam, 1 Mar. 2009, http://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poet/item/5372/10/Antjie-Krog.