Marié Opperman, née Van Reenen, was born on 19 November 1918 and grew up in
Vryheid. She spoke Zulu fluently. Marié studied Sciences at the University of
Pretoria (BSc) as it was easier to obtain a position as Science teacher at the
Arbeidershuisies by Clarens
Painting by Trienke Laurie
Marié Opperman1918 -1999
Marié van Reenen
Author and translator of children's stories, fairy tales and Zulu stories
She was married to the poet Dirk Opperman in 1942. They had three daughters: Heila, Trienke and Diederi.
Marié Opperman worked for the radio and wrote children's programmes. She
contributed to "Vir die-Huisvrou", with articles - among others - on women
poets.She combined fund-raising schemes for the ACVV (a charitable society of
Afrikaner women) with the preservation of Afrikaans culture by innovative
the making of a record of traditional nursery songs by the
"Vrolike Vinkies" ("Joyful Finches") of Vesta Oelofsen;
an authors' evening, where celebrated authors read from their
own work and their handwritten manuscripts were auctioned;
a jolly old-fashioned debate involving notable wits like Professor Charlie Fensham.
She was the driving force behind the establishment of a co-educational
high school at Stellenbosch.
Marié Opperman died on 24th of August 1999.Books:
Zulu Stories, translated and retold:
Die Opraak van die Vuur, 1975
Mbodse en die Langsnoekheksie, 1977
Die Kraaie en die Ryk Kaptein, 1977
Marié Opperman translated Anderson's Fairytales from Danish in seven volumes,
1963-1968. Some of her children's verses appeared in Die Nuwe Kleuterverseboek by DJ Opperman.
Text by Trienke and Dirk Laurie, July 2002
www.StellenboschWriters.com © Rosemarie Breuer