Culture

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 79
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
2
Nadine Gordimer is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Dec. at 91 (1923-2014)
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
3
Laurence Lerner is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 94
Laurence (David) Lerner (12 December 1925 – 19 January 2016), often called Larry, was a South African-born British literary critic and poet and novelist. Also a lecturer, he taught in many ...more
4
Rachel Zadok is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 47
Rachel Zadok is a South African writer and a Whitbread First Novel Award nominee (2005). 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 76
Todd Alan Gitlin (born January 6, 1943) is an American sociologist, political writer, novelist, and cultural commentator. He has written about the mass media, politics, intellectual life and the ...more
6
Basil Rathbone is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Dec. at 75 (1892-1967)
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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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
Dec. 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
Dec. at 83 (1910-1993)
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.
10
Nelson Mandela is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Dec. at 95 (1918-2013)
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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11
Ronald Harwood is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 85
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
12
Andrew Murray is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Dec. at 89 (1828-1917)
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]
13
Athol Fugard is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 87
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
14
Antony Sher is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 70
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
15
André Brink is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 84
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
16
Ian Dalrymple is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Dec. at 86 (1903-1989)
Ian Dalrymple (26 August 1903 – 28 March 1989) was a British screenwriter, film director, film editor and film 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 80
Dame Janet Suzman, (born 9 February 1939) is a South African/British actress who enjoyed a successful early career in the Royal Shakespeare Company, later replaying many Shakespearean roles, ...more
19
Abba Eban is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Dec. at 87 (1915-2002)
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
20
Neill Blomkamp is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 40
Neill Blomkamp (Afrikaans pronunciation: [ˈnil ˈblumkamp]; born 17 September 1979) is a South African film director, producer, screenwriter, and animator. Blomkamp employs a documentary-style, ...more
21
Gavin Hood is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 56
Gavin Hood (born 12 May 1963) is a South African filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, and actor, best known for writing and directing Tsotsi (2005), which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign ...more
22
Alan Paton is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Dec. at 85 (1903-1988)
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.
23
Noel Langley is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
Dec. at 69 (1911-1980)
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
24
Darrell Roodt is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 57
Darrell James Roodt (born in Johannesburg, April 28, 1962) is a South African film director, screenwriter and producer. He is probably most well known for his 1992 film Sarafina! which starred ...more
25
Jon Blair is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Writers from South Africa
age 69
Jon Blair, CBE is a South African-born writer, film producer and director of documentary films, drama and comedy.