John Kannemeyer, a leading authority in Afrikaans literature, died from a stroke on Christmas Eve, SABC radio news reported on Monday.
He had held the post of extraordinary professor of Afrikaans and Dutch at Stellenbosch University.
Kannemeyer, who was also an independent researcher and author, died aged 72.
His former colleague, Wits University Emeritus Professor Ampie Coetzee, said Kannemeyer had recently been working on a biography of Nobel Prize-winning author JM Coetzee.
“I’m not sure if it was completed,” he told SABC radio news.
Kannemeyer was born in Robertson, Western Cape and studied at Stellenbosch University and also worked at Wits University, Cape Town University, the Rand Afrikaans University (now the University of Johannesburg), the Human Sciences Research Council as well as at universities in the Netherlands.
Coetzee also told SABC radio news that Kannemeyer’s most important works were on the biographies of poets DJ Oppermann and Uys Krige; and the writer CJ Langenhoven. — Sapa