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Paul Roos Gymnasium
Paul Roos Gymnasium
Painting by Hérine Fourie

R K Belcher

Ronnie Belcher

1933 - 2006

Stellenbosch's well known poet and raconteur
Author of 20 poetry collections including books of children's verses
Founder and Principal of a private college

Ronald (Ronnie) Kenneth Belcher was born 21 April 1933, the sixth of thirteen children of an English speaking family in Goodwood, Cape Town. He attended Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch and matriculated from Goodwood - Epping High School in 1950, where he passed the Senior Certificate examination in the first class. (He wrote the school anthem).
The family was very poor and Ronnie had to interrupt his studies several times to earn money. He lived for 10 years in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where he worked in the mines. Ten years later he played Rugby in the first league of Western Province and was voted Van der Stel Sportsman of the year.
Ronnie studied at Stellenbosch University, where he obtained a D Litt with the thesis: Grondslae van die sonnetvorm (Principles of the sonnet form) in 1969.

Ronnie Belcher worked for a short time as reporter at Die Burger and later as editor for Human & Rousseau publishers.
1975: Editor of Matieland
1976: Manager of Stellenbosch University Choir.
He lectured at four Universities: Stellenbosch, Western Cape, Natal and Bophuthatswana and retired as professor of Afrikaans Literature and Head of the Department, University of Bophuthatswana, in 1990.
After several years of wine farming in Paarl, R K Belcher founded the Suider Kollege in 2000, one of the first private educational colleges to obtain University status in South Africa.
He was an internationally acknowledged researcher of Afrikaans oral and popular literatures and received many national and international awards for both his academic achievements and his poetry. Bloemfontein and Strand named a street after him in honour of his research and his poetry, respectively.
He lived in Stellenbosch, where he often played the role of Simon van der Stel during the annual Van der Stel festival. He was one of the first Stellenbosch authors who self published some of his and other writers books.
Ronnie Belcher died on 21 October 2006, at Stellenbosch. He was married to Ella, née du Toit, and they had a daughter, Renée, and a son, Ronald Kenneth.

Awards and Honours:

Was voted Van der Stel Sportsman of the year in the early sixties.
Ronnie Belcher is the only ere-Griekwa (honorary Griekwa) in the world.
R.K. Belcher se poësie, Van heidebos en Skepper (huldeblyk, compiled by Abraham de Vries ), 2008

Books:

Mens en skepper, Van Schaik, 1956
Ver land , HAUM, 1960
Grondslae van die sonnetvorm, HAUM, 1973
Pampoenkoekies, (children's verses) HAUM, 1973
Sit om jou dassie, (children's verses) Kinderpers, 1973
So is die lewe vir een pond sewe, HAUM, 1978
Voëltjies met vlerkies (children's verses), HAUM, 1978
'n Ding om te skil in die maand April, Klipbok, 1980
Kokkewiet Kokkedoor (children's verses), Perskor, 1980
Rooikappie op rym (children's verses), Klipbok, 1981
Halleluja Paternoster, Perskor, 1982
Ringe in 'n geelhoutboom, Perskor, 1982
My hart sing sewe moppies, Tafelberg, 1996
Van heidebos en klip, Suider Kollege Uitgewers, 2000
Bayeux, Suider Kollege Uitgewers, 2000
Rings of a thundering tree, Southern College Publishers, 2000

Six book translations from Dutch into Afrikaans of children's verses by Dick Bruna
Over 100 other publications

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* * *

'n Bietjie van joune
en 'n bietjie van myne
maar die doodgaan in die wêreld
dis ons almal syne



Lied

R.K. BELCHER

Prof. R.K. Belcher - Stellenbosch se bekende digter wat ook die rol speel van goewerneur Simon van der Stel tydens die jaarlikse Van der Stel-fees op Stellenbosch - is ‚n gebore en getoë Kapenaar uit ‚n Engelse huisgesin van twaalf kinders, en die skrywer van twintig digbundels, insluitende vyf kinderbundels en ses Afrikaanse verwerkings van Nederlandse kinderbundels.

Sy werk vir volwasse lesers dek ‚n wye spektrum wat wissel van drie bundels humoristies-tragiese volkskwatryne tot tradisonele prosodiese vorme soos die sonnet, waarvan hy as die voorste beoefenaar in Afrikaans beskou word. Sy tweede sonnettebundel, Van heidebos en klip, het in 2000 verskyn op dieselfde dag as sy omvangrykste werk, Bayeux, wat bestaan uit 500 strofes van vier versreëls elk. Bayeux, met sy 2 000 versreëls en apokaliptiese inslag, is Afrikaanse se eerste „milleniumgedig“.
Uit sy pen het meer as ‚n honderd publikasies verskyn, wat o.m. bestaan uit sy digbundels, artikels, hoofstukke, openbare voorlesings en ander geskrewe kommunikasies. Hy was dosent by vier universiteite, t.w. dié van Stellenbosch, Wes-Kaapland, Natal en Bophuthatswana. Hy het in 1990 afgetree as professor in Afrikaanse letterkunde en hoof van die departement Afrikaans by laasgenoemde universiteit, en is tans Rektor en Visekanselier van Suider Kollege, die eerste geregistreerde private hoëronderwys kollege wat deur die Suid-Afrikaanse Kwalifikasie Outoriteit (SAQA) as ‚n universiteit geakkrediteer is.

As akademikus is hy veral bekend vir sy uitgebreide navorsing oor die Afrikaanse mondelinge letterkunde en volksgebruike, ter ere waarvan ‚n straat in Bloemfontein na hom genoem is. As digter is ‚n straat in Strand na hom genoem. Hy is die houer van talle ander nasionale en internasionale toekennings en eerbewyse, en is ook die enigste ere-Griekwa in die wêreld.
Hy word internasionaal beskou as die voorste kenner van die sonnetvorm. Sy doktorale proefskrif oor die sonnetvorm is in 1973 uitgegee as Grondslae van die sonnetvorm

In die sestigerjare was hy bekend as rugby-losvoorspeler in die W.P. se eerste liga - hy was in dié tyd ook agsteman van Unie en Van der Stel se eerstespanne en Van der Stel se Sportman van die Jaar - en in die negentigerjare as ‚n wynboer in Paarl. In die vroeë vyftigs was hy ‚n mynwerker in Zimbabwe, wat toe nog Suid-Rhodesië geheet het.

Belcher het Suider Kollege Uitgewers in 2000 gestig.

Die Kollege vir Literêre Kunste, wat in 2000 as ‚n afdeling van Suider Kollege Uitgewers deur Belcher gestig is, bied ‚n kursus in poësietegniek dwarsdeur die land per afstandsonderrig aan. Die uitgewery is die enigste wat opleiding bied aan aspirant digters wat verdienstelike manuskripte voorgelê het vir publikasie, maar nog nie die vereiste peil bereik het nie.

Werke van R.K. Belcher

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Afrikaans text by Ronnie Belcher, February 2002

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