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Extraordinary Life by Antjie Krog, 26 January 2015, South Africa

Audio File: 
26 January 2015

From publishing her first volume of poetry at age 17 to her coverage of the TRC hearings, poet and writer Antjie Krog is a remarkable South African.

Poet, journalist, academic and writer Antjie Krog was born in 1952 in Kroonstad in the Free State. She published her first volume of poetry, Dogter van Jefta (Daughter of Jephta), at the age of 17. One of the poems reads: “Give me a land where black and white hand in hand/ Can bring peace and love to my beautiful land”; a line that gave hope to political prisoners on Robben Island. In 1993 she edited a progressive Afrikaans publication before working as a radio journalist, covering the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearings. 

She has written a number of books, including the award-winning Country of My Skull – a moving personal account of her experience of the TRC. Much of her poetry deals with love, apartheid, the role of women, and the politics of gender. Her work has been translated into English, Dutch and several other languages.

Musician Zolani Mahola and Professor Kopano Ratele discuss her life in this podcast. Mahola, who nominated Krog for the Extraordinary Lives series, is one of the country’s most loved musicians and has been lead singer for Afro-fusion-pop band Freshlyground since 2002. 

Ratele is a professor of psychology at the University of the Western Cape. One day, Krog walked into his office to chat to him about a TRC testimony that troubled her. The chat turned into a two-year project (with third academic Nosisi Mpolweni) and produced a book called There was this Goat: Investigating the Truth Commission Testimony of Notrose Nobomvu Konile. The book untangles the “incoherent” testimony of Notrose, the mother of one of the "Gugulethu Seven" comrades, who were killed in a police ambush. Kopano talks about Krog's truth and what it was like working with the internationally-acclaimed poet.

Extraordinary Lives is a biographical podcast series that celebrates the contribution that remarkable people have made on South Africa and the world. A well-known guest discusses the life of an extraordinary person who has inspired them. Extraordinary Lives is inspired by the BBC's “Great Lives” and is presented by Jonathan Ancer. It is produced by Triple World Score Media.

Source: Mail&Guardian