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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 authors. She writes in Cape-Afrikaans, a spoken language containing English words and slang. Her work has been translated into Dutch, French, Greek, Italian and English. Her first poetry collection Noudat Slapende Honde (Now Then Sleeping Dogs, 2008) paints a sharp picture of poverty. Santekraam (2012) contains stories in verse about a fishing village that must make way for a military site. Mammie (2017) is a loving as well as raw ode to her mother. Chinatown (2021) is typically hard-hitting. Kamfer's poems, as controlled as they are intimate and darkly humourous, tackle violence, the position of women, love and parenthood. Her first novel, Kompoun, was published in 2021. She compiled Die maan is swart (The Moon is Black, 2022), a collection of poetry by Adam Small, and has translated two of Kirsty Applebaum's Princess Minna children's books into Afrikaans.


Archive available for: Ronelda S. Kamfer

  • Writers Unlimited 2024

    Ode to Remco Campert & The Hague Literary Prizes Ceremony

    With: Aad Meinderts, Alma Mathijsen, Anjet Daanje, Benjamin Herman, Blue Moon, Corrie van Binsbergen, Ellen ten Damme, Jan Kuijper, Judith Uyterlinde, Kees 't Hart, Kees van Kooten, Lucky Fonz III, Maartje Meijer, Marjoleine de Vos, Mirjam van Hengel, Ramsey Nasr, Ronelda S. Kamfer, Rozalie Hirs, Saskia Bruines, Tjibbe Veldkamp, Tomas Lieske

    To grandly celebrate the life and work of Remco Campert, an ode to him took place on the final day of the 2024 Writers Unlimited International Literature Festival The Hague, preceding the award ceremony of The Hague Literature Prizes. The event was organized by Writers Unlimited and the Literatuurmuseum, in collaboration with the Jan Campert Foundation, de Volkskrant and De Bezige Bij.

    Ode to Remco Campert
    Campert was honoured with appearances by prominent writers and artists such as Ellen ten Damme, Kees van Kooten, Ramsey Nasr, Alma Mathijsen, Mirjam van Hengel, South African poet Ronelda S. Kamfer, guitarist Corrie van Binsbergen and the Benjamin Herman Quartet formed by Benjamin Herman (saxophone), Thomas Poll (double bass), Timothy Banchet (piano) and Jimmi Hueting (drums). All let themselves be inspired by the person and work of Campert for their musical or verbal contributions.

    Remco Campert (1929-2022) was born in The Hague. He was a much-loved poet, novelist and columnist. His poetry won awards such as the Reina Prinsen Geerligs Prize, the Poetry Prize of the City of Amsterdam, the Jan Campert Prize, the P.C. Hooft Price and the Gouden Ganzenveer. In 2015 he was honoured with the Dutch Literature Prize.

    Besides poetry, Campert wrote several novels, stories and novellas from the 1960s on, such as 2004's Een liefde in Parijs (A Love in Paris), which became revered classics. From 1989 until 1995, together with Jan Mulder and Bart Chabot, he read from his own work in theatres. From 1996 to 2006, together with Mulder, he wrote the joint column CaMu that appeared on the front page of the Volkskrant daily newspaper. His last works were 2019's Aanelkaar (To Each Other), an exchange of letters with Kees van Kooten, and the poetry collection Mijn dood en ik (My death and I, 2019), in which he lucidly looks death in the eye.

    The Hague Literature Prizes Award Ceremony
    The festival ended with The Hague Literature Prizes, which are awarded annually by the Jan Campert Foundation. The laureats - Anjet Daanje, Tomas Lieske, Rozalie Hirs en Tjibbe Veldkamp - received their prizes from Saskia Bruines, alderwoman of Finance, Culture and Economy of The Hague.

    Anjet Daanje received the Constantijn Huygens Prize, The Hague's most important award for a body of work. Tomas Lieske was awarded the F. Bordewijk Prize for his novel Niets dat hier hemelt. Rozalie Hirs received the Jan Campert Prize for her collection of poetry ecologica. The biennial Nienke van Hichtum Prize for children's books went to Tjibbe Veldkamp for his De jongen die van de wereld hield.

    Each laureate was honoured with a laudatio by a special guest! Thus, writer Kees 't Hart and pianist, singer and composer Maartje Meijer performed for Anjet Daanje. Rozalie Hirs and Tomas Lieske were praised by poet Jan Kuijper and writer Marjoleine de Vos respectively. Singer-songwriter Lucky Fonz III performed for Tjibbe Veldkamp.

    Judith Uyterlinde, director of Writers Unlimited, and Aad Meinderts, chair of the Jan Campert Foundation, delivered welcoming words.

    Bookstore De Vries van Stockum was present in the foyer with a stand where books by the authors participating in this event and others were available!

    Ode to Remco Campert & The Hague Literary Prizes Ceremony was curated by Jet Steinz on behalf of the Jan Campert Foundation and Writers Unlimited. Mirjam van Hengel hosted the event.

  • Writers Unlimited 2024

    Mensen Zeggen Dingen x Writers Unlimited Festival

    With: Angelina Enny, Benzokarim, Dean Bowen, Nisrine Mbarki, Ronelda S. Kamfer, Sjaan Flikweert, XILLAN

    In Mensen Zeggen Dingen x Writers Unlimited Festival, two international authors -- Ronelda Kamfer (South Africa) and Angelina Enny (Indonesia) let their voices be heard alongside those of Dutch poets and spoken-word artists Dean Bowen, Sjaan Flikweert and Nisrine Mbarki. Alternative R&B-artist XILLAN joined with a musical performance. Host was Benzokarim!

    Things are nothing if they are not given words. That is exactly what Mensen Zeggen Dingen (People Say Things) does. Speaking them out, discussing them, putting exclamation marks or question marks behind them and setting the order. The platform for poetry and performance passes by with club shows in PAARD (The Hague), Theater Bellevue (Amsterdam), Tivoli Vredenburg (Utrecht), Doornroosje (Nijmegen) and festivals such as Lowlands and Down The Rabbit Hole.

    Mensen Zeggen Dingen and Writers Unlimited Festival brought a special International Literature Festival The Hague edition to PAARD with poetry, poetry slam, prose, music and punchlines.

    Festival tip: also come to the grand festival events Friday Night Unlimited (19 January) and Saturday Night Unlimited (20 January)! Both nights you choose your own route along some 20 programmes on five stages in Theater aan het Spui and Filmhuis Den Haag.

    From 18 to 21 January 2024, the festival was to be found in theatres, libraries and schools throughout The Hague: from Theater aan het Spui, Filmhuis Den Haag, Koninklijke Schouwburg and Paard to Theater Dakota, the Nieuw Waldeck, Schilderswijk and Ypenburg libraries and Haagse Hogeschool. With over ninety writers, poets and spoken-word artists and musicians from the Netherlands and abroad. With readings, prose, poetry, storytelling, spoken word, author interviews, topical talks, films and music.

  • Writers Unlimited 2024 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    Garbage In, Garbage Out: Poetry event

    Is the lyrical voice a chatbot confidently making statements based on an outdated dataset?

    Maarten van der Graaff, who curated Garbage In, Garbage Out, asked these poets to listen carefully to chatbots skimming the Internet to answer our questions. What does the tone of chatbots forging all that information into sentences mean for poetry?

    What is the role of the body in writing, reading and listening to poetry? Who or what do you actually hear when listening to a poem: an intimate voice, or a cacophony? Can the poem be a garbage collector?

    Garbage In, Garbage Out is an event featuring both formerly published poetry as well as work newly written for the occasion by and with Ronelda Kamfer, Simone Atangana Bekono, Astrid Lampe, Dewi de Nijs Bik and (via a previously recorded video presentation) Zheng Xiaoqiong.

  • Writers Unlimited 2024 – Friday Night Unlimited

    Het Zwarte Schaap (The Black Sheep): Spoken word you won't hear anywhere else

    Say it: Stories you won't hear anywhere else. Say it: The Black Sheep! Writers Unlimited and Het Zwarte Schaap gave space to poetic, rhythmic and musical acts by writers, poets and spoken-word performers that need to be heard aloud from the stage.

    Het Zwarte Schaap is The Hague's young spoken-word and spoken-literature platform: a safe meeting space and community for writers and their stories. This evening, Het Zwarte Schaap presented a special Writers Unlimited festival lineup featuring Ronelda S. Kamfer, Jasper Albinus, Khadija Ibourk El Idrissi and Eva van Manen, with Sophia Blyden as host.

    Jasper Albinus appears on stage as poet and spoken word-artist. In 2017 he joined the Poetry Circle, a platform for performing writers and writing performers, and took part in the Slow Writing Lab of the Dutch Foundation for Literature in 2018. In his work he makes issues of identity, history and politics hit home. He may appear at literary festivals or in theatres, and sometimes adds a poetic note to a debate. He performed at the Oerol, Brainwash and Writers Unlimited festivals, among others.

    Sophia Blyden researches themes such as loneliness, power relationships and her Caribbean roots in her prose and poetry. She has presented her poetry at various Dutch venues. Her debut novel will be come out with Querido Publishers in late 2024.

    Khadija Ibourk El Idrissi is a poet who writes in Dutch and other langagues. Her debut poem De ontmoeting (The Encounter) is pentalingual. She was on of the Young City Poets of The Hague in 2022, and has presented her poems at Dutch events and festivals. She participated in the 22/23 Poetry Circle and will continue her poetry career from there to find her way.

    Ronelda S. Kamfer is one of today's most important South African authors. Her poetry collection Noudat Slapende Honde (Now, Sleeping Dogs, 2008) paints in incisive picture of living in poverty. Santenkraam (2012) contains stories in verse about a fishing village that must make way for a military terrain. Mammie (2017) is a loving and raw ode to her mother. Her first novel, Kompoun (2021), will be pulished in Dutch, translated by Alfred Schaffer, who also translated her poetry.

    Eva van Manen is an artist, songwriter, poet and music producer who moves between disciplines and worlds. Her album Politiek & Liefde (Politics & Love, 2018) bridges styles such as rap, electronica and guitar pop, and investigates where politics and love overlap. In her poetry volume Hoe zijn we hier gekomen? (How Did We Get Here?, 2021) she seeks out the roots of the question of how we came to be in this country, this body and this political climate. In 2023 her solo EP Le Hérou will be released, featuring forest songs recorded in the Ardennes.

  • 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? was not about "typical" dystopian genres, but dealt 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 met 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?