André Brink – R.I.P.

17 Feb 2015

By Mandla Langa, Executive Vice President, PEN SA

It was with a sense of great sadness that we learnt of the untimely death of André Brink. A quintessentially considerate and polite man, André also participated in non-literary events that coalesced to shape the new South Africa. In the celebrated encounter between a delegation of mainly Afrikaner writers and exiled writers and scholars, which took place at the Victoria Falls, from 8 to 12 July 1989, André made a memorable impact. Those of us who were there remember André’s unassuming manner, where he was authoritative without the unseemly bombast that characterised some of the exiled writers, and never lecturing. My last – and lasting memory of him was when we were at the Hong Kong literary festival in February 2010, where his warm and solicitous bearing endeared him to the organizers and the students in the various institutions we visited. He was a star that sought at all times to elevate others and to celebrate the achievements of younger people, advising and never lecturing.

His death is a tragedy in a country which should spur us, the living, to emulate him in his relentless search for truth.

May his soul rest in peace.