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Adam Small passed away


NB Publishers regretfully announces that one of Afrikaans’s biggest voices has fallen silent. Adam Small passed away on Saturday, June 25, after an operation the previous day. Our deepest condolences go to his wife, Rosalie, and his family.

Adam Small was one of the giants of Afrikaans literature. He was held in high regard as a poet, playwright, and academic. In particular, Small gave voice to the people of the Cape Flats – both in the themes of his work and the way he established Kaapse Afrikaans as a literary language, in which the full extent of a community’s being and humanity is lived, and can be expressed. As a member of the Sixties movement he was a pioneer of Afrikaans literature.

Because of the controversy surrounding his work, the recognition it so deserved came decades late. A few years ago, in 2012, he was awarded the Hertzog prize for literature, which he accepted with grace. His wife, Rosalie, read his acceptance speech, with the closing words: "Finally, the main idea for tonight must be: let the coupling of the names Hertzog and Adam Small be a great symbol for the reconciliation of the people of our country. Political reconciliation is important, but intellectual reconciliation, which can only be borne by philosophy and the arts, runs deeper, and is the basis of everything. Let us be joyful. In those eternal words: Kô lat ons sing!"

Marga Stoffer, publishing manager of NB Publishers, says: "For NB Publishers, it was a privilege to publish this remarkable writer's work. His work touched people’s lives deeply, and his passing is a great loss to Afrikaans."

Tertius Kapp, fiction publisher at Tafelberg: "Adam Small leaves deep, shrewd, brilliant and beautiful footprints in which a generation of writers can follow today. The way he combined a tremendous intellect, compassion and social engagement in his drama and poetry, is unmatched. He still brings us light: ‘moet hierie woorde soes moet kerse’.”

Eloise Wessels, CEO of NB Publishers: "Adam Small said that we live in a land of the heart's bleeding, but now our hearts bleed over the loss of a writer who, in many ways, was the conscience of the Afrikaans-speaking community. We will miss him very much."

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