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Afrikaners Against Apartheid Aren't Rare

April 20, 1990

Scott Kraft's excellent article on Andre Brink on April 17 has one significant misstatement. He says that Brink, as an Afrikaner, is a rarity in anti-apartheid literature. Fortunately, Brink has many peers in his Afrikaans community.

A generation ago, when Afrikaans authors began to seriously attack the shibboleths of their society, the novelists earned the collective title Die Sestigers , or Men of the Sixties. One could name a dozen writers, including Prof. J. M. Coetzee of Pochefstroom University who won the coveted Booker Prize in England. Athol Eugard is both a playwright and novelist.

Nor were they all male. The sentimental novel about apartheid in Afrikaans was written by Elsa Joubert. Entitled "Poppy Nogena," it traces the endless trials and tribulations of a black domestic battered hither to yon by government regulations. It was a sensational bestseller in Afrikaans, was translated into English and became a successful play.

Whatever their past sins, Afrikaners are redeeming themselves as a moral people in their churches, their politics and their literature. Andre Brink is a fine example and Kraft does him justice. But he is not a rarity.

NED MUNGER, Professor of African Politics, Caltech

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