SA literary champion dies

Former Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns (South African Science and Art Academy) chairperson and honorary member Professor Elize Botha died on November 15 at the age of 76, the academy announced.

Botha — who also served as chancellor of the University of Stellenbosch since 1998 — had been involved with the academy’s literary commission, academy chief executive officer Jacques van der Elst said in a statement.

She had been awarded the Gustav Preller prize for literary science and literary criticism, as well as the NP van Wyk Louw medal.

Born on November 19 1930 in Krugersdorp, Botha obtained her master’s degree in arts in 1952 at the University of Stellenbosch. She also had a DLitt et Phil obtained at the University of Amsterdam, and held honorary doctorates of literature at the universities of Pretoria and Stellenbosch.

Before leaving for her further studies in Amsterdam, she worked as newspaper journalist in 1952 and 1953.


In her career, she served on the board of the Foundation for Afrikaans and lectured at most of South Africa’s major universities. She was also the first woman appointed to the board of Nasionale Pers, and a member of the Advisory Council on National Orders.

In 1993, she chaired the commission on national symbols that had been appointed to decide on the new South African flag and anthem, reports Stellenboschwriters.com.

Her published work included the books Prosakroniek (1987) and Oor die Afrikaanse Prosa en Ander Opstelle (1980), according to WhoswhoSA.co.za.

Botha is survived by her husband, Professor Johan Botha, a son, two daughters and two grandchildren.

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