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Ronelda S. Kamfer

Ronelda Kamfer - foto Nathan Trantraal
Ronelda Kamfer - foto Nathan Trantraal

(South Africa, 1981) is one of today's most important South African poets. She was born and raised in and around Cape Town and began writing in her teens. She writes in Kaaps-Afrikaans which, unlike standard Afrikaans, is a spoken language containing English words and slang. Her poems had already been published here and there when she debuted with the collection Noudat Slapende Honde (Now Then Sleeping Dog, 2008), which paints a sharp picture of poverty. Santenkraam (2012) contains stories in verse about a fishing village that must make way for a military site during the apartheid era. Mammie (2017) is a loving as well as raw ode to her mother and the women of her generation. Chinatown (2021), translated into Dutch by Alfred Schaffer like her other volumes, is typically hard-hitting. With restraint and determination, Kamfer composes poems about rape, humiliation, domestic violence and the position and role of women.

(WN 2022)

Archive available for: Ronelda S. Kamfer

  • Winternachten 2022 – Thursday Night Unlimited

    Who's Afraid of the Female Future?

    Dystopia and poetry - with Iman Mersal, Athena Farrokhzad, Ronelda S. Kamfer (online) and Widad Broco

    Dystopia: we know it primarily as an imaginary society with various grim features. A terrifying image of the future, and a rewarding starting point for literature, where speculative stories and science fiction have long since claimed their place. Who's Afraid of the Female Future? is not about "typical" dystopian genres, but deals with the relationship between dystopia and poetry. Because is poetry not the ideal genre in which socially critical ideas and dreamworlds find their place?

    For women, daily reality can already feel dystopian. A grand, glamorous science-fiction tale is not necessary for a personal dystopia; poetry is the genre in which female poets feel at home. In this event you will meet Egyptian-Canadian poet Iman Mersal, Swedish-Iranian poet Athena Farrokhzad and South African poet Ronelda S. Kamfer (online). What is the relationship of these poets with "dystopia"? How do they imagine the future in their poetry? And is "the house" still a safe space in their dystopian-poetic world?

    An intimate event for poetry aficionados, with music by poet/performer Widad Broco, the first female rap artist of the Arabic world, also known for her part in the internationally successful electro-urban music group N3rdistan. Poet and programmer Nisrine Mbarki, who put together this event, defines "dystopia" in the following way: "I see dystopian images of the world as critical images, as alarm signals of what we humans fear. Dystopian images deserve attention and space because they represent a critical voice and can shake us awake. They are a form of commentary on our current society, which is based on the liberal and capitalist system of prosperity, and therefore also the exploitation of people and the earth. We had better listen closely to such commentary."

    English spoken.

  • Ronelda S. Kamfer en Christine Otten

    Ronelda S. Kamfer and Christine Otten

    With: Christine Otten, Jeroen van Kan, Ronelda S. Kamfer

    Ronelda S. Kamfer is one of the most exciting young South-African poets. She will perform and speak with the Dutch writer Christine Otten.

    Kamfer grew up in Cape Town. She studied at the University of Western Cape with the well known writer Antjie Krog. For her first collection of poems 'Noudat Slapende Honde' (2008) she was awarded the prestigious Eugene Marais Prize. In 2010 she was introduced to the Dutch audience at the Writers Unlimited festival. Her performance was a sensation. All copies of her books were sold instantatiously. Her new collection, 'Santenkraam', was published this month in Dutch translation at Podium publishing house.

    During this evening in Writers Unlimited The Series, she will talk to writer, performer and journalist Christine Otten. In her work she shows affinity with the South-African poet: 'Ronelda S. Kamfer converts the raw dayly reality of South-Africa into crystal clear poetry, that leaves the reader speechless.' Otten is known by her novels 'The Last Poets'(2006), 'In Wonderland' (2010) and 'Als Casablanca' (2008). With Writers Unlimited she tourned to South-Africa, and performed at festivals in Durban and Cape Town.

    The talk between Kamfer and Otten will be moderated by the radio- and televisionpresentor Jeroen van Kan (VPRO De Avonden).

  • Turkije 2010

    Reading with local writers from Antakya

    With: Anil Ramdas, Hassan Daoud, Ramsey Nasr, Ronelda S. Kamfer

    The four writers who travel on invitation of Winternachten, will perform tonight alongside local writers from the Antakya area: Sinan Seyfettinoglu, Mehmet Ali Solak, Mehmet Tekin, Duran Yasar, Kerim Donmez, Yaser Bereketoglu and Muhsin Boz. The discussion is in English, with Turkish translations. The readings of the foreign authors will be in the original languages, with projections of Turkish translations on screen.

  • Turkije 2010

    Reading and panel discussion: literature and society - Antakya

    With: Anil Ramdas, Hassan Daoud, Ramsey Nasr, Ronelda S. Kamfer

    Ramsey Nasr, Hassan Daoud, Ronelda Kamfer and Anil Ramdas read from their literary work, and talk about the expectations they have of the influence of literature on society. As a public figure, does the writer or a poet have a more than average social responsibililty?

  • Turkije 2010

    Reading in Ghetto - Istanbul

    With: Anil Ramdas, Hassan Daoud, Ramsey Nasr, Ronelda S. Kamfer

    Because of a bomb attack in Istanbul, the performances of Sunday afternoon were all cancelled. Therefore, an extra performance has been arranged for the writers who travel through Turkey on behalf of Winternachten. The final party of the ITEF festival in 'Ghetto' will open with readings by the Dutch/Surinamese writer Anil Ramdas, the Dutch Poet Laureate Ramsey Nasr, Hassan Daoud from Beirut and poet Ronelda Kamfer from South Africa.

  • Turkije 2010

    Reading and discussion - ITEF Istanbul

    With: Anil Ramdas, Hassan Daoud, Ramsey Nasr, Ronelda S. Kamfer

    Four writers and poets read from their work, and discuss it before and with their audience. The language is English, the readings are in the orgininal languages, with simultaneous projection of the Turkish translations. The South-African poet Ronelda Kamfer reads her poems in Afrikaans. Writer and journalist Hassan Daoud from Lebanon will read fragments from his recent novel. The Dutch 'poet laureate' Ramsey Nasr will perform his poetry, and the Dutch/Surinamese journalist and writer Anil Ramdas will read from his essays and articles.
    In D&R Etiler, Nispetiye Cad. No:17 - Etiler - Nisantasi, Istanbul.

  • Turkije 2010

    Writers Conference - part 2

    With: Anil Ramdas, Bejan Matur, Gündüz Vassaf, Hakan Gunday, Hamdi Koç, Hassan Daoud, Melida Tüzünoglu, Ramsey Nasr, Ronelda S. Kamfer

    Final session of a two day closed writer's meeting with the four writers travelling on invitation of Winternachten, and four Turkish writers: Bejan Matur, Hakan Gunday, Hamdi Koc and Melida Tuzunoglu, on the theme Global writing - global conscience. The sessions are chaired by writer Gündüz Vassaf.

  • Turkije 2010

    Writers Conference - part 1

    With: Anil Ramdas, Bejan Matur, Gündüz Vassaf, Hakan Gunday, Hamdi Koç, Hassan Daoud, Melida Tüzünoglu, Ramsey Nasr, Ronelda S. Kamfer

    Start of a two day closed writer's meeting with the four writers travelling on invitation of Winternachten, and four Turkish writers: Bejan Matur, Hakan Gunday, Hamdi Koc and Melida Tuzunoglu, on the theme Global writing - global conscience. The sessions are chaired by writer Gündüz Vassaf.

  • Winternachten 2010 – Winternachten 2

    Wintercafé 2: Hold on! Oulipo.

    Hold on! Oulipo and the literary restriction: If you play the game, you make the rules. The French OuLiPo company (Ouvroir Littéraire Potentielle, founded in 1960) thought that with self-imposed literary restrictions one could write potentially interesting texts. In which only the e as a vowel would occur, or a poem in which all the letters of the alphabet would recur.This programme, a co-production of Wintertuin (Nijmegen) and festival Winternachten (The Hague) is a tribute to the writers, mathematicians and philosophers of OuLiPo. Four writers, Saskia de Coster, Karin Amamoetkrin, Anton Valens and Joke van Leeuwen were given a restriction by writer/mathematician Hugo Brandt Corstius in Nijmegen. Now the four writers and their 'patron' get together in The Hague to read the results. Meanwhile, all the texts will have been published in a handy-sized booklet – available at Winternachten in a limited edition!
    At the end of this hour there is a performance by saxophonist and composer Maarten Ornstein and Joshua Samson (percussion). Ornstein composed music to poems of the South African poet Ronelda Kamfer. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2010 – Winternachten 1

    I speak your language

    The new generation of poets Ronelda Kamfer (South Africa), Alfred Schaffer (Aruba/the Netherlands) and Hagar Peeters (the Netherlands) recite from their work and talk to Stephan Sanders about their language and poetry. Ronelda Kamfer writes in Afrikaans. Is that language in her country still symbolic of the language of the Apartheid regime? Is Afrikaans beyond guilt, or is there a job to do here for Afrikaans poets like her? Alfred Schaffer, the son of an Aruban mother and a father from Limburg, writes his poems in Dutch and lived in South Africa for a while. In her poetry Hagar Peeters explores modern specimens of suppression in the Netherlands. How do these three young poets look at the guilt or innocence of the language they write in? And how does that language relate to the reality they seek to capture in their poems?
    Dutch/Afrikaans.