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Famous Authors from South Africa

Updated August 30, 2019 59.9k views389 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

    Isaac Schapera

    A handbook of Tswana law and custom, Rainmaking rites of Tswana tribes

    BirthplaceGaries, South Africa


    NationalityUnited Kingdom, South Africa

    Isaac Schapera, was a social anthropologist at the London School of Economics specialising in... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 2
    Rose Moss is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Rose Moss

    The terrorist, Shouting at the crocodile
    Rose Rappoport Moss is an American writer born in South Africa. She has published novels,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 3
    Andrew Murray is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Andrew Murray

    Teach Me To Pray, Not My Will

    BirthplaceGraaff-Reinet, South Africa


    NationalitySouth Africa

    Andrew Murray (9 May 1828 – 18 January 1917) was a South African writer, teacher and Christian... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 4
    William Plomer is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    William Plomer

    Ali the lion, The South African Autobiography

    BirthplacePolokwane, Limpopo, Limpopo, Africa, South Africa


    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England, South Africa

    William Charles Franklyn Plomer CBE (he pronounced the surname as ploomer) (10 December 1903 –... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 5
    Ahmed Deedat is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Ahmed Deedat

    The choice, What the Bible Says About Muhammad

    BirthplaceSurat, India


    NationalityIndia, South Africa

    Ahmed Hoosen Deedat (Gujarati: અહમદ હુસેન દીદત; Urdu: احمد دیدات‎) (11th of november 1918 – 8... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 6
    Peter Abrahams is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Peter Abrahams

    A night of their own, Wild conquest

    BirthplaceSouth Africa


    NationalityJamaica, South Africa

    Peter Henry Abrahams Deras (3 March 1919 – 18 January 2017), commonly known as Peter Abrahams,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 7
    Basil Rathbone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Basil Rathbone

    In & Out of Character

    BirthplaceJohannesburg, South Africa


    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Philip St. John Basil Rathbone MC (13 June 1892 – 21 July 1967) was an English actor. He rose... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More Basil Rathbone 

    #179 of 301 The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)#603 of 1,030 The Best Actors in Film History

  • 8
    Johannes Meintjes is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Johannes Meintjes

    Sandile, the fall of the Xhosa Nation



    NationalitySouth Africa

    Johannes Petrus Meintjes was a South African artist and writer. Meintjes grew up on his... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 9
    Ronald Harwood is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Ronald Harwood

    The Dresser, Taking Sides

    BirthplaceCape Town, South Africa


    NationalityUnited Kingdom, South Africa

    Sir Ronald Harwood, (born Ronald Horwitz; 9 November 1934) is an African-born British author,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 10
    Cyril Cusack is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Cyril Cusack

    Tar éis an aifrinn, Humour Is on Me

    BirthplaceDurban, South Africa



    Cyril James Cusack (26 November 1910 – 7 October 1993) was an Irish actor, who appeared in... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 11
    Nadine Gordimer is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Nadine Gordimer

    The Late Bourgeois World, A Sport of Nature

    BirthplaceSprings, South Africa


    NationalitySouth Africa

    Nadine Gordimer (20 November 1923 – 13 July 2014) was a South African writer, political... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 12
    J. M. Coetzee is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    J. M. Coetzee

    Waiting for the Barbarians, Slow Man

    BirthplaceCape Town, South Africa


    NationalityAustralia, South Africa

    John Maxwell Coetzee () (born 9 February 1940) is a South African-born novelist, essayist,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 13
    Nelson Mandela is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Nelson Mandela

    Long Walk to Freedom, The Essential Nelson Mandela

    BirthplaceMvezo, South Africa


    NationalitySouth Africa

    Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (; Xhosa: [xolíɬaɬa mandɛ̂ːla]; 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More Nelson Mandela 

    15 Fascinating Facts About The Brutal, Inspiring Life of Nelson Mandela#71 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

  • 14
    André Brink is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    André Brink

    An Act of Terror, The Novel

    BirthplaceFree State, Africa, Vrede, South Africa


    NationalitySouth Africa

    André Philippus Brink, OIS (29 May 1935 – 6 February 2015) was a South African novelist. He... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 15
    Athol Fugard is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Athol Fugard

    Hello And Goodbye, Boesman and Lena

    BirthplaceSouth Africa, Middelburg, Eastern Cape


    NationalityUnited States of America, South Africa

    Harold Athol Lanigan Fugard OIS (born 11 June 1932) is a South African playwright, novelist,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 16
    Lindsay Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Lindsay Armstrong

    Accidental Nanny, A Masterful Man

    BirthplaceSouth Africa

    NationalityAustralia, South Africa

    Lindsay Armstrong is a popular South African-Australian writer of over 65 romance novels. She... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 17
    Wilbur A. Smith is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Wilbur A. Smith

    The Diamond Hunters, THE BURNING SHORE

    BirthplaceKabwe, Zambia


    NationalitySouth Africa

    Wilbur Addison Smith (born 9 January 1933) is a British novelist specialising in historical... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 18
    Abba Eban is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Abba Eban

    The meaning of Jewish history, Israel in the world

    BirthplaceSouth Africa, Cape Town


    NationalityIsrael, South Africa

    Abba Eban ( (listen); Hebrew: אבא אבן [ˈʔaba ˈʔeven]; born Aubrey Solomon Meir Eban; later... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 19
    Antony Sher is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Antony Sher

    Year of the king, Primo Time

    BirthplaceCape Town, South Africa


    NationalityUnited Kingdom, South Africa

    Sir Antony Sher, KBE (born 14 June 1949) is a British actor of South African origin, a... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 20
    Alan Paton is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Alan Paton

    Cry, the Beloved Country

    BirthplacePietermaritzburg, South Africa


    NationalitySouth Africa

    Alan Stewart Paton (11 January 1903 – 12 April 1988) was a South African author and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 21
    Laurens van der Post is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Laurens van der Post

    The seed and the sower, The Lost World of the Kalahari

    BirthplacePhilippolis, Free State, South Africa


    NationalityEngland, South Africa

    Sir Laurens Jan van der Post, CBE (13 December 1906 – 16 December 1996), was a 20th-century... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 22
    Margaret Wild is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Margaret Wild

    Bobbie Dazzler, Kiss kiss

    BirthplaceEshowe, Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


    NationalityAustralia, South Africa

    Margaret Wild (born 1948) is an Australian children's writer. She has written more than 40... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 23
    Breyten Breytenbach is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Breyten Breytenbach

    Dog Heart: A Memoir, Mouroir

    BirthplaceWestern Cape, Africa, South Africa


    NationalityFrance, South Africa

    Breyten Breytenbach (; born 16 September 1939) is a South African writer and painter known for... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 24
    Noel Langley is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Noel Langley

    The Land of Green Ginger, Tales of Mystery and Revenge

    BirthplaceDurban, Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


    NationalityUnited States of America, South Africa

    Noel Langley (25 December 1911 – 4 November 1980) was a South African (later naturalised... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 25
    Brian Cleeve is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Authors from South Africa

    Brian Cleeve

    Judith, Cry of Morning

    BirthplaceEast of England, Eurasia, United Kingdom, Southend-on-Sea, England


    NationalityUnited Kingdom, South Africa

    Brian Brendon Talbot Cleeve (22 November 1921 – 11 March 2003) was a writer, whose published... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
AuthorsWritersSouth Africa