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Author Focus

PH Nortje
Biographical info

Peter Henry (P.H.) Nortje was born on 20 October 1920 on the farm Klipfontein near Willowmore in the Baviaanskloof. He trained as a teacher and taught in Douglas, King William’s Town, Riversdal and Wellington.

In 1954, he and his family moved to Wellington where he became the first headmaster of Hugenote Primary School. He was headmaster for 8 years, after which he was a lecturer in education and later vice-rector of the Wellington Educational College. After his retirement in 1983, he and his wife moved to the Strand.

His first youth book, Pennie se vuur, was published in 1959. This book, along with the book Die groen ghoen, was collectively awarded the Scheepers Prize. Other award winning youth works include Die wildedruif val (Tafelberg/Sarie Youth Literature Prize in 1982) and Die elfde hekkie (ATKV Prize in 1994).

In the 1950’s and ’60’s a series of sketches about his family life and experiences in Wellington were published in Die Huisgenoot. It was later published in book form under the titles Nuut onder die son (1967), Aan die sonkant (1972), Op die sonpad (1973) and Klein Hollywood (1982). Korsies van growwebrood, his autobiographical account, was published in 1989. His last book, Volstruis, met wie gaan jy trou?, was published in 2000. In 2008 an anthology of his work, entitled Op ’n hoë noot – Die lekkerste stories van P.H. Nortje, was published.

Books still in print

2008 Op ’n hoë noot – Die lekkerste stories van P.H. Nortje, Tafelberg

All of PH Nortje’s books are available from Print On Demand.


Scheepers Prize for youth literature (1962) – Die groen ghoen and Pennie se vuur
Tafelberg/Sarie Prize for Youth Novels (1982) – Die wildedruif val
ATKV Prize: 13-15 years (1994) – Die elfde hekkie
FAK Prestige Prize (1998) – For his contribution to Afrikaans literature
Wellingtonner of the Year (2002)

List of published work

Youth books
1959 Pennie se vuur, Tafelberg
1960 Die groen ghoen, Tafelberg
1964 Donkerwater, Tafelberg
1970 In Voetpad se Kloof, Tafelberg
1977 Duisendblaar, Tafelberg
1979 Casper, Perskor
1982 Die wildedruif val, Tafelberg
1989 In klip en gruis, Tafelberg
1993 Die elfde hekkie, Tafelberg

1967 Nuut onder die son, Tafelberg
1971 Aan die sonkant, Tafelberg
1973 Op die sonpad, Tafelberg
1973 Matewis se mense gaan boer, Tafelberg
1975 Bly of gly, Tafelberg
1982 Klein Hollywood, Tafelberg

Autobiographical accounts
1989 Korsies van growwebrood, Tafelberg
1994 Spook van die wielsleutel, Tafelberg
1997 Ken op die kierie, Tafelberg
2000 Volstruis, met wie gaan jy trou?, Tafelberg

1993 Wellington se suiker, Tafelberg
2008 Op ’n hoë noot – Die lekkerste stories van P.H. Nortje, Tafelberg


Die groen ghoen (1960)

  • Dutch (De Groene Stuiter) and English (Green Ally, 1963)


  • English (Dark Waters, 1965)

    Die wildedruif val (1982)

  • English (The Wild Grape Tree, 1984)