Human & Rousseau

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Author Focus

Achmat Dangor

Biographical info

Achmat Dangor was born in Johannesburg in 1948. He studied literature at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. His membership of the cultural group Black Thoughts led to his being banned for six years. He subsequently lectured in creative writing at the City University in New York. Upon his return to South Africa he worked, among others, for Kagiso and as chief of the Independent Development Trust. He was chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund for a time and was subsequently employed as director at UNAIDS in Switzerland. Achmat has been the managing director of the Nelson Mandela Foundation since 2007.

He has published two books of poetry, Bulldozer (1983) and Private Voices (1992). He is especially renowned for his novels: Waiting for Leila (1981), The Z Town Trilogy (1990), Kafka’s Curse (1997) and Bitter Fruit (2001). Kafka’s Curse was awarded the Herman Charles Bosman Prize in 1997. His novel Bitter Fruit made the shortlist of the presitious Man-Booker Prize in 2004.

Did you know?

 Bitter Fruit  was also shortlisted for the international IMPAC-Dublin Literature Prize in 2003.

Author’s bookshelf

Bitter Fruit, Kwela Books (2006)


Mofolo Plomer Prize (1981) – Waiting for Leila
Herman Charles Bosman Prize (1997) – Kafka’s Curse


1981 Waiting for Leila, Ravan
1990 The Z Town Trilogy, Ravan
1997 Kafka’s Curse, Kwela Books
2001 Bitter Fruit, Atlantic Books

1983 Bulldozer, Ravan
1992 Private Voices, COSAW

1986 Majiet, Open School


Kafka’s Curse (1997)
• Frans, Duits (Kafkas Fluch, 2001), Nederlands en Spaans (La maldición de Kafka)


Bitter Fruit (2001)
• Spaans (Fruta amarga)



Books By This Author