Writers Famous Writers from South Africa

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List of famous writers from South Africa, listed alphabetically with photos when available. South Africa is home to many prolific writers, including those who write fiction, non-fiction, poetry, biographies and more. These are some of the best South African writers that have ever lived, so if you're a native of South Africa and an aspiring writer then use this list as inspiration to achieve your own writing goals.

Makhosazana Xaba and Frene Ginwala are included on this list along with many more.

This list answers the questions, "Who are popular South African writers?" and "Which writers are from South Africa?"

You can click on the names of these renowned writers of South Africa in order to get more information about each one. Some of these historic writers may no longer be living in South Africa, but they're all of South Africa descent.

1
J. M. Coetzee is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 78 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

2
Nadine Gordimer is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 91 (1923-2014) 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

3
Laurence Lerner is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 93 Laurence Lerner is a South African born British literary critic and poet and novelist. He was born in Cape Town to parents of Lithuanian-Jewish ancestry, and educated at the University of Cape ...more

4
Rachel Zadok is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 46 Rachel Zadok is a South African writer and a Whitbread First Novel Award nominee. She is the author of the novels Gem Squash, Tokoloshe and Sister-Sister.

5
Todd Gitlin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 75 Todd Gitlin is an American sociologist, political writer, novelist, and cultural commentator. He has written widely on the mass media, politics, intellectual life and the arts, for both popular ...more

6
Basil Rathbone is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 75 (1892-1967) 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

7
Lebogang Mashile is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Lebogang Mashile is a poet and actress.

8
Johannes Meintjes is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 57 (1923-1980) 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
Cyril Cusack is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 83 (1910-1993) Cyril Cusack was an actor.

10
Nelson Mandela is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 95 (1918-2013) 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

11
Ronald Harwood is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 84 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

12
Andrew Murray is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 89 (1828-1917) Andrew Murray was a South African writer, teacher, and Christian pastor. Murray considered missions to be "the chief end of the church."

13
Athol Fugard is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 86 Athol Fugard is an actor, screenwriter and film director.

14
Antony Sher is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 69 Sir Antony Sher, KBE is a South African-born British actor, writer and theatre director.

15
André Brink is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 83 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

16
Ian Dalrymple is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 86 (1903-1989) Ian Dalrymple was a British screenwriter, film director and producer.

17
Lindsay Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Writers from 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

18
Janet Suzman is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 79 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

19
Abba Eban is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 87 (1915-2002) 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

20
Neill Blomkamp is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 39 Neill Blomkamp is a South African–Canadian film and advertisement director, writer, producer and animator. Blomkamp employs a documentary-style, hand-held, cinéma vérité ...more

21
Gavin Hood is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 55 Gavin Hood is a South African filmmaker, screenwriter, producer and actor, best known for writing and directing Tsotsi, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. He also ...more

22
Alan Paton is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 85 (1903-1988) Alan Stewart Paton was a South African author and anti-apartheid activist.

23
Noel Langley is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 69 (1911-1980) 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

24
Darrell Roodt is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 56 Darrell Roodt is a South African film director, screenwriter and producer. His film Sarafina! was screened out of competition at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival. His 2012 film Little One was ...more

25
Jon Blair is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 68 Jon Blair is a South African-born writer, film producer and director of documentary films, drama and comedy who has lived in England and the United States ever since he was drafted into the ...more

26
Dave Richardson is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 59 David John Richardson is a South African former cricketer and current CEO of the International Cricket Council. He played 42 Tests and 122 One Day Internationals as a wicket-keeper for South ...more

27
John Kani is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 75 Bonsile John Kani is a South African actor, director and playwright.

28
Coretta Scott King is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 79 (1927-2006) Coretta Scott King was an American author, activist, and civil rights leader. Coretta Scott King helped lead the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. King was an active advocate ...more

29
Margaret Wild is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 70 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.

30
David O. Sacks is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 46 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

31
Winston Ntshona is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 77 Winston Ntshona is a South African playwright and actor.

32
Breyten Breytenbach is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 79 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

33
Bryce Courtenay is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 79 (1933-2012) 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.

34
Moira Lister is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 84 (1923-2007) Moira Lister de Gachassin-Lafite, Vicomtesse d’Orthez was a South African-born, English film, stage and television actress, and writer.

35
Richard Stanley is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 52 Richard Stanley is a South African film director and screenwriter. Stanley works and lives in Montségur, France.

36
Laurens van der Post is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 90 (1906-1996) 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

37
Madeleine Ker is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 64 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

38
Jamie Uys is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 75 (1921-1996) Jacobus Johannes Uys, better known as Jamie Uys, was a South African film director.

39
Leon Schuster is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 67 Leon Ernest "Schuks" Schuster is a South African filmmaker, comedian, actor, presenter and singer.

40
Justine Shapiro is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 55 Justine Shapiro is South African born North American actress, filmmaker, writer, hostess and producer, who is one of several main hosts of the Pilot Productions travel/adventure series Globe

41
Ahmed Deedat is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 87 (1918-2005) 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

42
Wayne Kramer is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 53 Wayne Kramer is a South African film director, screenwriter, producer and storyboard artist. Kramer has written and directed films such as the 2003 film The Cooler, which garnered an Oscar ...more

43
Beverley Naidoo is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 75 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

44
Karel Schoeman is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Karel Schoeman age 79 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

45
Frederik Willem de Klerk is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 82 Frederik Willem de Klerk is a South African politician who served as the country's State President from September 1989 to May 1994. He was the seventh and last head of state of South Africa ...more

46
David Gill is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 71 (1843-1914) Sir David Gill FRS was a Scottish astronomer who is known for measuring astronomical distances, for astrophotography, and for geodesy. He spent much of his career in South Africa.

47
Max Theiler is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 73 (1899-1972) Max Theiler was a South African-American virologist and doctor. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1951 for developing a vaccine against yellow fever in 1937, becoming ...more

48
B. C. Forbes is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 74 (1880-1954) Bertie Charles Forbes was a Scottish-born American financial journalist and author who founded Forbes magazine.

49
Stuart Cloete is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 79 (1897-1976) Edward Fairly Stuart Graham Cloete was a South African novelist, essayist, biographer and short story writer.

50
H. F. Maltby is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Died at 83 (1880-1963) 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.