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Author Focus

Alba Bouwer
Biographical info

Albertha Magdalena (Alba) Bouwer was born on a farm near Vredefort in the Free State on March 16 1920. When her father died, the family moved back to her mother’s family farm in Klein Drakenstein, close to Paarl. Alba matriculated at La Rochelle Girls High in Paarl. After teaching for a few years she started working at the SABC in Cape Town as a compiler and presenter of children’s programmes. In 1950 she joined the editorial team of Sarie Marais. She was assistant editor of this magazine for thirteen years. She later settled down in Riversdal and retired in Somerset West in the 1990s.

Alba made her debut in 1955 with Stories van Rivierplaas. In 1956 Nuwe Stories van Rivierplaas was published. In 1959 she was awarded the Scheepers Prize for youth literature for the Rivierplaas books. Alba received the Scheepers Prize again in 1965 and the C.P. Hoogenhout Award three times in 1961, 1971 and 1983. In 1984 she received the MER Prize for her book Vlieg, swaeltjie, vlieg ver. Her first and only novel for adults, Die afdraand van die dag is kil, was published by Tafelberg in 1992.

Bouwer passed away on 5 October 2010.

Did you know?

· Since 1989 the Alba Bouwer Prize for children’s literature has been awarded every three years by the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns.
· She translated into Afrikaans books such as Rip van Winkel (1965), Tippie se liefde (1966), Die leerling-towenaar (1968), and Winnie-die-Poeh (1985).
· Die afdraand van die dag is kil was shortlisted for the CNA Prize for literature in 1993.

Author’s bookshelf

Rivierplaas: Alba Bouwer Omnibus, Tafelberg (2007)


Scheepers Prize for youth fiction (1959) – Stories van Rivierplaas and Nuwe Stories van Rivierplaas
Scheepers Prize for youth fiction (1965) – Katrientjie van Keerweder, Stories van Ruyswyck, Stories van Bergplaas
C.P. Hoogenhout Prize (1961) – Katrientjie van Keerweder
C.P. Hoogenhout Prize (1971) – ’n Hennetjie met kuikens
C.P. Hoogenhout Prize (1983) – Vlieg, swaeltjie, vlieg ver
MER Prize (1984) – Vlieg, swaeltjie, vlieg ver


Children’s and youth fiction
1955 Stories van Rivierplaas, Nasionale Boekhandel
1956 Nuwe Stories van Rivierplaas, Nasionale Boekhandel
1958 Abdotjie: ses verhaaltjies oor ’n Maleiertjie van die ou Kaap, Nasionale Boekhandel
1961 Katrientjie van Keerweder, Tafelberg
1963 Stories van Ruyswyck, Nasionale Boekhandel
1966 Dirkie van Driekuil, Tafelberg
1963 Stories van Bergplaas, Tafelberg
1971 ’n Hennetjie met kuikens, Tafelberg
1980 Lenkel Dienkel Tafelberg
1983 Vlieg, swaeltjie, vlieg ver, Tafelberg
1995 Alba Bouwer-omnibus, Tafelberg

1992 Die afdraand van die dag is kil, Tafelberg

1965 Kom nader: bloemlesing uit die werk van M.E.R., Nasionale Boekhandel
1977 M.E.R., 'n Kosbare erfenis: briewe 1916-1975, Tafelberg

Photo: Cloete Breytenbach

Books By This Author