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Author Focus

Eve Merchant
Biographical info

Eve Merchant (neé Pask) was born in Pietermaritzburg in 1905 and after spending her early years in India, was sent to live with her aunt in Cambridge. She returned to South Africa at age 17 to join her father who was a senior electrical engineer with South African Railways. She met her future husband, Harry, who was posted to Cape Town for Cable and Wireless during the Second World War. They were married in St George’s cathedral in 1942 and moved to Mossel Bay after the war.

Eve wrote many stories for children that were published in St Peter’s Church magazine and later became the Mossel Bay correspondent for Het Suid-Western (the regional newspaper) in the 1970s. 

Tafelberg published her first novel, Ghamka, Man of Men in 1985, a story for teenage readers about a Khoi youngster living in what is now Mossel Bay at the time of the arrival of the early Portuguese explorers. Ghamka was awarded the Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature in 1985.

Eve followed this by translating a novel by Hester Heese, published as The Sound of Awakening in 1987. 

In 1990, Tafelberg published Eve’s second novel for teenage readers, Caravel to the Cape, which recounts the adventures of a young boy who stowed away on Bartolomeu Dias’ ship on his voyage of discovery in 1488.
Eve translated another novel, Tree-more, Tree-most by Elsabe Steenberg in 1992. 

She died in Mossel Bay in April 1993 aged 88 and is survived by her son and three grandchildren.