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Uys Krige
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Uys Krige

1910 - 1987

Briewe Van Uys Krige: Uit Frankry En Spanje

Poet, playwright and author of short stories and travelogues

List of works   Poems: Die seemeeu   Poësie

Mattheus Uys Krige was born on 4 February 1910 on the farm Bontebokskloof near Swellendam. His father was the famous Springbok rugby centre, Japie Krige. Uys attended school in Cape Town and Stellenbosch and studied Law at Stellenbosch University.
After his studies he worked as editor of the Rand Daily Mail in Johannesburg.
He moved to France and Spain in 1931 earning his living playing professional rugby and writing for newspapers, including a rugby newspaper. He also served as a lifeguard.
When he returned to South Africa in 1935 he worked as a journalist and was on the editorial boards of Vandag and Contrast.
Uys married actor Lydia Lindeque in 1937, which stimulated his interest in theatre.
During World War II he followed the allies as a war- correspondent to North Africa. He was taken prison by the Germans and held for two years in a prisoner camp in Italy before he managed to escape. Italian farmers and shepherds helped him to hide in the mountains until he was able to make contact with the allied troops (Described in The way out, 1946). For several months he roamed Europe, especially Italy, France and England, as a military observer for the allies.
Back in South Africa he dedicated his time mainly to writing and settled first in Johannesburg, then in Cape Town and Onrusrivier, where he lived for the last 18 years of his life. His friends, Marjorie and Jan Rabie lived in nearby Vermont.
Krige often travelled to Europe and - having received a Carnegie bursary - he visited the USA in 1955.

Uys Krige was a distinguished translator into Afrikaans of French and Spanish poetry. He also translated Molière and Shakespeare.
He died on 10 August 1987 in Onrusrivier.

Awards:
Uys Krige
Academy Award for poetry translations 1951 and 1971
Doctor honoris causa, University of Natal 1958
Doctor honoris causa, awarded by the Universities of Rhodes and Stellenbosch
Academy Award for drama translations 1956, 1969, 1972 and 1981
Hertzog Prize for poetry 1974
Hertzog Prize for drama 1985
Uys Krige was 'n besondere figuur in die Afrikaanse letterkunde. Hy was die eerste sogenaamde boheemse kunstenaar hier en meer kosmopoliet as enige van sy tydgenote. Hy was die eerste Afrikaanse skrywer wat hom deur sy politieke uitsprake van die regeringsbeleid van daardie jare gedistansieer het. Heelwat van sy werk het ontstaan buite die grense van sy vaderland. Krige het bekendheid verwerf deur sy gedigte, prosaverhale, reissketse en dramatiese werk.
M. Nienaber-Luitingh

List of works:

Poetry:

Kentering, 1935
Rooidag, 1940
Oorlogsgedigte, 1942
Hart sonder hawe, 1949
Ballade van die groot begeer en ander gedigte, 1960
Vooraand, 1964
Uys Krige: 'n Keur uit sy gedigte, 1974

Drama:

Magdalena Retief, 1938
Die Wit muur en ander eenbedrywe, 1940
Die Loodswaaiers, 1977
Drie Eenbedrywe, 1977

Alle paaie gaan na Rome
Die sluipskutter

Prose:

Die Palmboom, 1940
The way out, 1946
(The Afrikaans translation: Môrester oor die Abruzzi, appeared only in 1987)
Sol y sombra, 1948
Ver in die wêreld, 1951
The dream and the desert, 1953

Na die Maluti's
this collection of articles, which appeared in Die Brandwag in 1939, was published posthumously in 1990.

J.C. Kannemeyer, Uit Die Skatkis Van Die Goue Seun
Peet van Aardt, Briewe van Uys Krige uit Frankryk en Spanje

* * *

Die seemeeu

Tussen die wit huis
en die wit huis,
teen die wit wolk,
teen die grys berg
hoog bo die see
silwer en grys
silwer en grys
van golwe aaneen
tot die verste vaal
horisonne heen,
styg en daal,
styg en daal
die wit seemeeu
aaneen
alleen?

Wat sing die see?
Wat kla die wind?
Wat roep die meeu?
Wat snik die hart
aaneen
alleen?

Die see sing,
die wind kla,
die meeu roep,
die hart snik
tussen die wit huis
en die wit huis
op die helder dag
silwer en grys,
silwer en grys;
waarheen?
waarheen
aaneen
alleen, alleen, alleen?

Poësie

O sinnebeeld van die altyd
verrassende, die onverwagte,
die ewig begeerde nooit te bereike
doelwit buite my kragte,
sug van my sug, droom van die droom
van al my dae en nagte.

Sy stap in vuur nakend
deur my gedagte.



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