Home > Winter School > Winter School 2021 > ARTS AND HUMANITIES > Afrikaans language and literataure


Professor Hein Willemse, Professor of Literature and Literary Theory, Department of Afrikaans, University of Pretoria; Professor Michael le Cordeur, Stellenbosch University; Associate Professor Quentin Williams, UWC; Professor Steward van Wyk, UWC; and Ms Stevlyn Vermeulen, Kwela Publishers.

The Afrikaans language has a varied history. South Africans of every hue and background have contributed to its formation and development. In public debates on the history of the language or its literature little of this variety is reflected. In this course a brief overview of the Afrikaans language and literature beyond the known hegemonic history will be explored. Initially the background of a variety of proto-Afrikaans speakers will be discussed with reference to the sociocultural aspects of language formation in the early to mid-nineteenth century, more particularly the emergence of the Afrikaans Islamic scribal tradition and Moravian textual practices. In the second lecture proponents of the introduction of contemporary Afrikaans language variety in the classroom will discuss the need and rationalisation for their proposals. In the third lecture the histories of marginality, resistance and reclamation in Afrikaans literature will be discussed with reference to Black Afrikaans writers past and present.



1. The hidden histories of Afrikaans – Prof. Hein Willemse

2. The varieties of Afrikaans (panel discussion 1 – Profs. Hein Willemse, Michael le Cordeur and Quentin Williams)       

3. Marginality, resistance and reclamation in Afrikaans literature (panel discussion 2 – Profs. Hein Willemse, Steward van Wyk and Ms Stevlyn Vermeulen)  


Recommended reading

Willemse, H. 2015. “The hidden histories of Afrikaans.” Whiteness, Afrikaans, Afrikaners. Edited by Joel Netshitenzhe. Johannesburg: Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA), 115–130. (Lecture 1)

Willemse, H. 2019. (video) “Die versteekte geskiedenisse van Afrikaans -- The hidden histories of Afrikaans.” (Lecture 1).

Hendricks, F. 2016. “The nature and context of Kaaps: a contemporary, past and future perspective,” Multilingual Margins 2016, 3(2): 6–39. (Panel discussion 1).

Le Cordeur, M. 2011. “Die variëteite van Afrikaans as draers van identiteit – ’n sosiokulturele perspektief,” Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe, 51(4): 1–20. (Panel discussion 1).

Williams, Q. 2021. “Kaaps is the future of Afrikaans,” Litnet. 30 March. (Panel discussion 1)

Willemse, H. 2019. Black Afrikaans writers: continuities and discontinuities into the early 21st century – a commentary. Stilet, 31(1&2): 260–276. (Panel discussion 2).

Willemse, H. 2021.“The Afrikaans Cultural Expressions of the Powerless and Subjugated.” In A Companion to African Literatures, First Edition, edited by Olakunle George. London: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 251–265. (Panel discussion 2).



DATES: Monday 26–Wednesday 28 July 2021            
TIME: 5.00pm–6.00pm
COURSE FEES: R225