Authors Famous Authors from South Africa

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List of the most popular authors from South Africa, listed alphabetically with photos when available. For centuries authors have been among the world's most important people, helping chronicle history and keep us entertained with one of the earliest forms of storytelling. Whether they're known for fiction, non-fiction, poetry or even technical writing, the famous South African authors on this list have kept that tradition alive by writing renowned works that have been praised around the world. You can find useful information below about these notable South African writers, such as when they were born and where their place of birth was.

The list you're viewing is made up of different authors like Dan Roodt and Gibson Kente.

This list answers the questions, "Which famous authors are from South Africa?" and "Who are the best South African authors?"

For further information on these historic South African authors, click on their names. If you're a bookworm then use this list of celebrated South African authors to discover some new books that you will enjoy reading.

1
Isaac Schapera is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
A handbook of Tswana law and custom, Rainmaking rites of Tswana tribes, The early Cape Hottentots Isaac Schapera, was a social anthropologist at the London School of Economics specialising in South Africa. He was notable for his contributions of ethnographic and typological studies of the ...more

2
Rose Moss is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Rose Moss The terrorist, Shouting at the crocodile, The family reunion Rose Rappoport Moss is an American writer born in South Africa. She has published novels, short stories, words for music and nonfiction. Moss was born in Johannesburg, and has lived in the ...more

3
Andrew Murray is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Teach Me To Pray, Not My Will, Working for God! Andrew Murray was a South African writer, teacher, and Christian pastor. Murray considered missions to be "the chief end of the church."

4
William Plomer is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Ali the lion, The South African Autobiography, Kilvert's Diary William Charles Franklyn Plomer CBE was a South African and British author, known as a novelist, poet and literary editor. He was educated mostly in the United Kingdom, but described himself as ...more

5
Ahmed Deedat is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
The choice, What the Bible Says About Muhammad, Crucifixion or cruci-fiction? Ahmed Hoosen Deedat was a South African writer and public speaker of Indian descent. He was best known as a Muslim missionary who held numerous inter-religious public debates with evangelical ...more

6
Peter Abrahams is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
A night of their own, Wild conquest, Return to Goli Peter Henry Abrahams Deras is a South African novelist, journalist and political commentator.

7
Basil Rathbone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
In & Out of Character Philip St. John Basil Rathbone, MC was a South African-born English actor. He rose to prominence in the UK as a Shakespearean stage actor and went on to appear in over 70 films, primarily ...more

8
Johannes Meintjes is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Sandile, the fall of the Xhosa Nation, De La Rey--Lion of the West Johannes Petrus Meintjes was a South African artist and writer. Meintjes grew up on his family's farm in the mountains near Molteno. He lived and worked in Cape Town for several years, taught ...more

9
Ronald Harwood is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
The Dresser, Taking Sides, The Pianist and Taking Sides Sir Ronald Harwood, CBE, FRSL is an author, playwright and screenwriter. He is most noted for his plays for the British stage as well as the screenplays for The Dresser and The Pianist, for ...more

10
Cyril Cusack is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Tar éis an aifrinn, Humour Is on Me, Between the acts and other poems Cyril Cusack was an actor.

11
Nadine Gordimer is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
The Late Bourgeois World, A Sport of Nature, The Conservationist Nadine Gordimer was a South African writer, political activist and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature. She was recognized as a woman "who through her magnificent epic writing ...more

12
J. M. Coetzee is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Waiting for the Barbarians, Slow Man, Youth: Scenes from Provincial Life II John Maxwell "J. M." Coetzee is a South African novelist, essayist, linguist, translator and recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature. He relocated to Australia in 2002 and ...more

13
Nelson Mandela is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Long Walk to Freedom, The Essential Nelson Mandela, L'apartheid Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was South Africa's first ...more

14
André Brink is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
An Act of Terror, The Novel, Imaginings of Sand André Philippus Brink, OIS was a South African novelist. He wrote in both Afrikaans and English and was a Professor of English at the University of Cape Town. In the 1960s he, Ingrid ...more

15
Athol Fugard is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Hello And Goodbye, Boesman and Lena, My Children! My Africa! Athol Fugard is an actor, screenwriter and film director.

16
Lindsay Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Accidental Nanny, A Masterful Man, Playboy Lover Lindsay Armstrong is a popular South African-Australian writer of over 65 romance novels. She published her novels in Mills & Boon's since 1981. Armstrong was born and raised in South ...more

17
Wilbur A. Smith is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
The Diamond Hunters, THE BURNING SHORE, Rage Wilbur Addison Smith is a South African novelist specialising in historical fiction about the international involvement in Southern Africa across three centuries, seen from the viewpoints of ...more

18
Abba Eban is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
The meaning of Jewish history, Israel in the world, Diplomacy for the next century Abba Eban was an Israeli diplomat and politician, and a scholar of the Arabic and Hebrew languages. In his career he was Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister, Education Minister, Deputy Prime ...more

19
Antony Sher is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Year of the king, Primo Time, Beside Myself Sir Antony Sher, KBE is a South African-born British actor, writer and theatre director.

20
Alan Paton is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Cry, the Beloved Country, Kontakion For You Departed Alan Stewart Paton was a South African author and anti-apartheid activist.

21
Laurens van der Post is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
The seed and the sower, The Lost World of the Kalahari, Feather Fall Sir Laurens Jan van der Post, CBE was a 20th-century Afrikaner author, farmer, war hero, political adviser to British heads of government, close friend of Prince Charles, godfather of Prince ...more

22
Margaret Wild is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Bobbie Dazzler, Kiss kiss, Little Humpty Margaret Wild is an Australian children's writer. She has written more than 40 books for children. Her work has been published around the world and has won several awards.

23
Breyten Breytenbach is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Dog Heart: A Memoir, Mouroir, Boklied Breyten Breytenbach is a South African writer and painter of great eminence. He is informally considered as the national poet laureate by Afrikaans speaking South Africans of the region. He also ...more

24
Noel Langley is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
The Land of Green Ginger, Tales of Mystery and Revenge, Edward Noel Langley was a South African novelist, playwright, screenwriter and director. He wrote the screenplay which formed the basis for the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and is one of the three ...more

25
Brian Cleeve is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Judith, Cry of Morning, Tread Softly in This Place Brian Brendon Talbot Cleeve was a prolific writer, whose published works include twenty-one novels and over a hundred short stories. He was also an award-winning broadcaster on RTÉ ...more

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Bryce Courtenay is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
April Fool's Day, The Power of One, Sylvia Bryce Courtenay, AM was a South African novelist who also held Australian citizenship. He is one of Australia's best-selling authors, notable for his book The Power of One.

27
Janet Suzman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
The free state Dame Janet Suzman, DBE is a South African/British actress who enjoyed a successful early career in the Royal Shakespeare Company, later replaying many Shakespearean roles, among others, on TV. ...more

28
Samora Machel is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Estabelecer o poder popular para servir as massas, A nossa luta, Unidade condição da vitória Samora Moisés Machel was a Mozambican military commander, revolutionary socialist leader and eventual President of Mozambique. Machel led the country from independence in 1975 until his ...more

29
Stuart Cloete is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Watch for the dawn, Rags of glory, Gazella Edward Fairly Stuart Graham Cloete was a South African novelist, essayist, biographer and short story writer.

30
Roy Campbell is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Roy Campbell The Georgiad, The wayzgoose, Flowering rifle Ignatius Royston Dunnachie Campbell, better known as Roy Campbell, was a South African poet and satirist. He was considered by T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas and Edith Sitwell to have been one of the ...more

31
Karel Schoeman is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Karel Schoeman Another country, Die Uur Van Die Engel, Die jare Karel Schoeman is a South African novelist, historian, translator and man of letters. He is the author of 19 novels and numerous works of history. He is one of South Africa's most awarded ...more

32
Madeleine Ker is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Never Kiss A Stranger, Untitled Gabriel Book 2, The original sin Marius Gabriel is an international romance and mystery writer, and artist. Under the pseudonym Madeleine Ker, he is a popular writer of over 30 romance novels since 1983. As Marius Gabriel he ...more

33
John Kani is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
The Island, Sizwe Banzi Is Dead Bonsile John Kani is a South African actor, director and playwright.

34
Marlene Dumas is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Most Wanted, Marlene Dumas, The question of human pink Marlene Dumas is a South African born artist and painter who lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In the past Dumas produced paintings, collages, drawings, prints and installations. ...more

35
James H. McClure is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
The Gooseberry Fool, The Steam Pig, Snake James Howe McClure was a British author and journalist best known for his Kramer and Zondi mysteries set in South Africa. James McClure was born and raised in South Africa and educated in ...more

36
Ezekiel Mphahlele is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
The wanderers, Man Must Live, Es'kia Es'kia Mphahlele was a South African writer, educationist, artist and activist. He was born Ezekiel Mphahlele but changed his name to Es'kia in 1977. He is celebrated as the Father of African ...more

37
Moira Lister is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
The very merry widow Moira Moira Lister de Gachassin-Lafite, Vicomtesse d’Orthez was a South African-born, English film, stage and television actress, and writer.

38
B. C. Forbes is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Finance, Business and the Business of Life, How to Get the Most Out of Business Bertie Charles Forbes was a Scottish-born American financial journalist and author who founded Forbes magazine.

39
Beverley Naidoo is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
No turning back, Chain of Fire, Web of Lies Beverley Naidoo is a South African author of children's books who lives in the U.K. Her first three novels featured life in South Africa where she lived until her twenties. She has also written ...more

40
Jonathan Kent is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Marguerite Jonathan Kent is an English theatre director and opera director. He is best known as a director/producer partner of Ian McDiarmid at the Almeida Theatre from 1990 to 2002. After an upbringing in ...more

41
Joy Packer is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
The glass barrier, Veronica, Pack and follow Joy Petersen Packer was a South African author of autobiography and romantic adventure novels.

42
Nicholas Wright is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
His Dark Materials, Lulu, Mrs Klein Nicholas Verney Wright is a British dramatist. He was born in Cape Town, attended Rondebosch Boys' School and from the age of six was a child actor on radio and on the stage. He came to London ...more

43
Niki Daly is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Vlieg, Arend, Vlieg Hoog! Niki Daly is a writer and illustrator.

44
David O. Sacks is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
The Diversity Myth: Multiculturalism and the Politics of Intolerance at Stanford David Oliver Sacks has been involved in the Internet space since the late 1990s as an entrepreneur, executive and investor, most recently as chief executive officer and founder of Yammer. As a ...more

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Gcina Mhlophe is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Our Story Magic, Stories Of Africa, Nozi Gcina Mhlophe is an actress.

46
Ernie Els is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
El Juego Corto, Ernie Els' Guide to Golf Fitness, Juego Corto Theodore Ernest "Ernie" Els is a South African professional golfer. A former World No. 1, he is known as "The Big Easy" due to his imposing physical stature along with his ...more

47
Thabo Mbeki is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Is there a national agenda and who sets it?, A nation at work for a better life, Africa's season of hope Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki is a South African politician who served nine years as the second post-apartheid President of South Africa from 14 June 1999 to 24 September 2008. On 20 September 2008, with ...more

48
H. F. Maltby is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Fifty-Fifty Henry Francis Maltby was a prolific writer for the London stage and British cinema from after the First World War, until the 1950s. He also appeared in many films.

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Winston Ntshona is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
The Island, Sizwe Banzi Is Dead Winston Ntshona is a South African playwright and actor.

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John Diefenbaker is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
I never say anything provocative, The wit & wisdom of John Diefenbaker, Quotations from Chairman Diefenbaker John George Diefenbaker PC, CH, QC was the 13th Prime Minister of Canada, serving from June 21, 1957, to April 22, 1963. He was the only Progressive Conservative party leader between 1930 and ...more