Current Literary Affairs: Ronelda Kamfer and Margriet van der Waal

In the eighth episode of Current Literary Affairs, Lisanne Snelders speaks with South African writer Ronelda S. Kamfer and professor of South African literature Margriet van der Waal. They discuss their relationship with the language Afrikaans given its complex historical perspective and Afrikaans' position in South Africa's literary landscape. Lisanne also talks with Ronelda about her poetry collection Chinatown and her recently published novel Compound, exploring themes like feminism and the complexity of patriarchal structures in her work.

Current Literary Affairs is a podcast by SLAA and Read My World. This podcast was realized thanks to Cultuurfonds and Productiehuis Noord, the media channel of ‘Verdedig Noord’.

Ronelda S. Kamfer (Cape Town, 1981) is one of South Africa’s foremost authors. She writes in Cape Afrikaans, a dialect blending English and street slang. Her debut poetry collection “Noudat Slapende Honde” (Now That Sleeping Dogs, 2008) paints a vivid picture of life in poverty. “Santenkraam” (2012) features verse stories about a fishing village displaced by a military base. “Mammie” (2017) is a raw yet affectionate tribute to her mother. “Chinatown” (2021) hits hard, with Kamfer skillfully blending intimacy and dark humor to tackle themes of violence, women’s roles, love, and parenthood. She translates Kirsty Applebaum’s Princess Minna children’s books into Afrikaans, including “Die eenhoring-gedoente” and “Die betowerde woud” (2023), and curates “Die maan is zwart” (2022), a poetry anthology by Adam Small. Her debut novel “Kompoun” (2021) was translated into Dutch by Alfred Schaffer, who also translated her poetry.

Current Literary Affairs is a podcast about current events through the lens of literature, in which we engage in conversation with writers from all over the world. How do the political circumstances in their country of residence influence their life and work? What are the topics we really should be talking about? CLA brings urgent conversation about fear and hope, outrage and pride, the personal and the political.