Writers

Famous Authors from South Africa

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Updated August 30, 2019 59.4k views 389 items

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

Birthplace: Garies, South Africa

Birthdate: 1905-06-23

Nationality: United Kingdom, South Africa

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
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!

Birthplace: Graaff-Reinet, South Africa

Birthdate: 1828-05-09

Nationality: South Africa

Andrew Murray (9 May 1828 – 18 January 1917) was a South African writer, teacher and Christian pastor. Murray considered missions to be "the chief end of the church".[1]
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

Birthplace: Polokwane, Limpopo, Limpopo, Africa, South Africa

Birthdate: 1903

Nationality: United Kingdom, England, South Africa

William Charles Franklyn Plomer CBE (he pronounced the surname as ploomer) (10 December 1903 – 21 September 1973) was a South African and British author, known as a novelist, poet and literary
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?

Birthplace: Surat, India

Birthdate: 1918

Nationality: India, South Africa

Ahmed Hoosen Deedat (Gujarati: અહમદ હુસેન દીદત; Urdu: احمد دیدات‎) (11th of november 1918 – 8 August 2005) was a South African writer and public speaker of Indian descent. He was best known as a ...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

Birthplace: South Africa

Birthdate: 1919

Nationality: Jamaica, South Africa

Peter Henry Abrahams Deras (3 March 1919 – 18 January 2017), commonly known as Peter Abrahams, was a South African-born novelist, journalist and political commentator who in 1956 settled in ...more
7
Basil Rathbone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
In & Out of Character

Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa

Birthdate: 1892-06-13

Nationality: United Kingdom

Philip St. John Basil Rathbone MC (13 June 1892 – 21 July 1967) was an English actor. He rose to prominence in the United Kingdom as a Shakespearean stage actor and went on to appear in more ...more

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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

Birthplace: Riversdale

Birthdate: 1923-05-19

Nationality: South Africa

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

Birthplace: Cape Town, South Africa

Birthdate: 1934-11-09

Nationality: United Kingdom, South Africa

Sir Ronald Harwood, (born Ronald Horwitz; 9 November 1934) is an African-born British author, playwright and screenwriter. He is most noted for his plays for the British stage as well as the ...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

Birthplace: Durban, South Africa

Birthdate: 1910

Nationality: Ireland

Cyril James Cusack (26 November 1910 – 7 October 1993) was an Irish actor, who appeared in numerous films and television productions in a career lasting more than 70 years.
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

Birthplace: Springs, South Africa

Birthdate: 1923-11-20

Nationality: South Africa

Nadine Gordimer (20 November 1923 – 13 July 2014) was a South African writer, political activist and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature. She was recognized as a woman "who ...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

Birthplace: Cape Town, South Africa

Birthdate: 1940-02-09

Nationality: Australia, South Africa

John Maxwell Coetzee () (born 9 February 1940) is a South African-born novelist, essayist, linguist, translator and recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature. He has also won the Booker ...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

Birthplace: Mvezo, South Africa

Birthdate: 1918-07-18

Nationality: South Africa

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (; Xhosa: [xolíɬaɬa mandɛ̂ːla]; 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served ...more

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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

Birthplace: Free State, Africa, Vrede, South Africa

Birthdate: 1935

Nationality: South Africa

André Philippus Brink, OIS (29 May 1935 – 6 February 2015) was a South African novelist. He wrote in both Afrikaans and English and taught English at the University of Cape Town.In the ...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!

Birthplace: South Africa, Middelburg, Eastern Cape

Birthdate: 1932

Nationality: United States of America, South Africa

Harold Athol Lanigan Fugard OIS (born 11 June 1932) is a South African playwright, novelist, actor, and director who writes in South African English. He is best known for his political plays ...more
16
Lindsay Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Accidental Nanny, A Masterful Man, Playboy Lover

Birthplace: South Africa

Nationality: Australia, South Africa

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

Birthplace: Kabwe, Zambia

Birthdate: 1933-01-09

Nationality: South Africa

Wilbur Addison Smith (born 9 January 1933) is a British novelist specialising in historical fiction about the international involvement in Southern Africa across four centuries, seen from the ...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

Birthplace: South Africa, Cape Town

Birthdate: 1915-02-02

Nationality: Israel, South Africa

Abba Eban ( (listen); Hebrew: אבא אבן [ˈʔaba ˈʔeven]; born Aubrey Solomon Meir Eban; later adopted Abba Solomon Meir Eban; 2 February 1915 – 17 November 2002) was an Israeli diplomat and ...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

Birthplace: Cape Town, South Africa

Birthdate: 1949-06-14

Nationality: United Kingdom, South Africa

Sir Antony Sher, KBE (born 14 June 1949) is a British actor of South African origin, a two-time Laurence Olivier Award winner and four-time nominee, who joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in ...more
20
Alan Paton is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Cry, the Beloved Country, Kontakion For You Departed

Birthplace: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Birthdate: 1903-01-11

Nationality: South Africa

Alan Stewart Paton (11 January 1903 – 12 April 1988) was a South African author and anti-apartheid activist. His works include the novels Cry, the Beloved Country and Too Late the Phalarope.
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

Birthplace: Philippolis, Free State, South Africa

Birthdate: 1906-12-13

Nationality: England, South Africa

Sir Laurens Jan van der Post, CBE (13 December 1906 – 16 December 1996), was a 20th-century South African Afrikaner author, farmer, soldier, political adviser to British heads of government, ...more
22
Margaret Wild is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa
Bobbie Dazzler, Kiss kiss, Little Humpty

Birthplace: Eshowe, Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Birthdate: 1948

Nationality: Australia, South Africa

Margaret Wild (born 1948) 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

Birthplace: Western Cape, Africa, South Africa

Birthdate: 1939

Nationality: France, South Africa

Breyten Breytenbach (; born 16 September 1939) is a South African writer and painter known for his opposition to apartheid, and consequent imprisonment by the South African government. He is ...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

Birthplace: Durban, Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Birthdate: 1911

Nationality: United States of America, South Africa

Noel Langley (25 December 1911 – 4 November 1980) was a South African (later naturalised American) novelist, playwright, screenwriter and director. He wrote the screenplay which formed the basis ...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

Birthplace: East of England, Eurasia, United Kingdom, Southend-on-Sea, England, + more

Birthdate: 1921

Nationality: United Kingdom, South Africa

Brian Brendon Talbot Cleeve (22 November 1921 – 11 March 2003) was a writer, whose published works include twenty-one novels and over a hundred short stories. He was also an award-winning ...more