F.A. Venter

François Alwyn Venter was born in Hopetown on 27 November 1916. He attended school at Vioolskraal, Strydenburg and Hopetown, and matriculated in 1934. He studied at Stellenbosch University and commenced a career as journalist in 1938, working in Cape Town, Pretoria, Windhoek and Johannesburg. In 1960 he began farming in the Kenhardt district, and ten years later started farming near Vredendal in the Olifants River Valley. In 1976 he retired to Strand, where he began to write full-time.

F.A. Venter was known for his historical novels, short stories and books for young adults. He received the Hertzog Prize for prose in 1961 for his novels Swart pelgrim and Geknelde land. Geknelde land formed part of his Great Trek tetralogy which appeared in the 1960s and also included Offerland, Gelofteland and Bedoelde land. His last book, Van Botterkraal na Altena, appeared in 1996 in celebration of his 80th birthday. It contained a selection from his four autobiographical works, one of which, Die keer toe ek my naam vergeet het, won him the Andrew Murray Prize in 1996. This book is about his recovery after suffering a stroke in 1990. F.A. Venter died on 8 July 1997 at the age of 80.

Did you know?

• He wrote popular fiction under the pseudonyms Meiring Fouché, Elske te Water, René Stegmann and Marius de Jongh
Die koning se wingerd was the first Afrikaans novel accepted by Leserskring with a first print run of 40 000 copies.

Books still in print

Man van Cirene, Lux Verbi (2016)
Die koning se wingerd, Lux Verbi (2017)


Hertzog Prize for Prose (1961) – Swart pelgrim and Geknelde land
Honorary doctorate from the University of Port Elizabeth (1981)
Andrew Murray Prize for Christian Literature (1996) – Die keer toe ek my naam vergeet het

List of titles

Short stories
1949 Gebondenes, Unie-volkspers

1950 Eenderse morge, Nasionale Boekhandel
1952 Die drosters, Drostdy Boekklub
1952 Swart pelgrim, Tafelberg
1955 Die tollenaar, Die Goeie Hoop-uitgewers
1957 Man van Ciréne, Tafelberg
1960 Geknelde land, Tafelberg
1963 Offerland, Tafelberg
1966 Gelofteland, Tafelberg
1968 Bedoelde land, Tafelberg
1969 Die rentmeesters, Tafelberg
1984 Die koning se wingerd, Tafelberg
1987 Die ou man en die duif, Tafelberg

Young adult fiction

1944 Die geheim van die berg, Tafelberg
1965 Wit oemfaan, Tafelberg

Autobiographical works

1965 Werfjoernaal, Tafelberg
1974 Die middag voel na warm as, Tafelberg
1979 Kambro-kind, Tafelberg
1995 Die keer toe ek my naam vergeet het, Tafelberg
1996 Van Botterkraal na Altena: Hoogtepunte uit vier outobiografiese romans, Tafelberg


Swart pelgrim (1952)
• English (Dark Pilgrim, 1959), German, Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch, Serbian
Man van Ciréne (1957)
• English (Man from Cyrene, 1962), German, Dutch, Spanish



books by this author




Since 2005, Christine has been the editor of Lééf met hart & siel, a magazine for women, mainly from a religious point of view. She has been the speaker at numerous occasions and she is part of the group that accompanies readers  to Israel. Before her positi ... MORE