Chris Barnard hailed as a ‘patriot’

The South African Civic Organisation (SANCO) on Monday described renowned Afrikaans author and scriptwriter, Christiaan “Chris” Johan Barnard as a “progressive intellectual and a patriot”.

Barnard (76) reportedly died of a heart attack on Monday.

“His death has robbed South African of a literature giant who was ahead of his time and who used his passion for writing to denounce the evil apartheid,” SANCO National spokesperson, Jabu Mahlangu, said. “He understood that the tapestry of our diversity is what makes us unique and beautiful.”

Mahlangu highlighted that Barnard made an invaluable contribution as part of the Afrikaans literary movement known as Die Sestigers (The Sixty-ers).

The movement sought to use Afrikaans as a language to speak against the apartheid government and also to bring into Afrikaans literature the influence of contemporary English and French trends.

“We wish to convey our condolences to his family, friends, fellow writers, artists and fellow South Africans as they mourn and celebrate his industrious and meaningful life,” he said.

The award-winning Barnard was known for writing various Afrikaans novels, novellas, columns, youth novels, short stories, plays, radio dramas, film scripts and television dramas.

Barnard’s drama, Die rebellie van Lafras Verwey was translated into Dutch, French, English, Italian and Czech. It also won the 1970 SABC/ BRT Prize for radio dramas, the 1973 SABC Academy Prize for radio dramas and the 1980 Idem Prize for radio dramas.

His proses, Duiwel in die bos and Mahala won the 1973 Hertzog Prize. The latter was translated into German and English by Griet van Schreven and Luzette Strauss respectively.

Barnard, who retired a farmer, is survived by his second wife Katinka Heyns, three sons from his first marriage to Anette – Johan, Stephan, Tian – and fourth son from his second union, Simon.

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