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South African Short Stories
edited by Chris van Wyk and Vagn Plenge
Commissioned by the Cultural Arm of the Danish Anti-Apartheid Movement

The anthology features a collection of dynamic and original pieces. It is edited by Chris van Wyk, who is both a well-known poet and writer of short fiction and is well qualified to attract a diverse, rich range of stories from some of the foremost practitioners of short fiction in South Africa.

The stories cover the first postliberation decade and reflect the anxieties and traumas that we still carry as a consequence of past brutality and exclusion. Yet despite the ongoing trauma the stories also reflect the powers of endurance and fortitude that maintain the cohesion of a still divided society. To date this has been one of Botsotso’s best selling anthologies and continues to be widely read.

The contributors of this anthology make up a wide spectrum of South Africans: black, white, men and women, established and budding who write in either English or Afrikaans. Among these are writers who began their careers in the fifties (George Weideman), to those who were active in the black consciousness period of the seventies (Achmat Dangor, Chris van Wyk, Maropodi Mapalakanye) through to writers who first appeared in print in the eighties and nineties (Rayda Jacobs, Finuala Dowling, Zachariah Raphola, Roshila Nair, Roy Blumenthal, Allan Kolski Horwitz).

While many of the writers in this anthology have established themselves as poets, novelists, dramatists and oral storytellers, they all choose the short story as another means of expressing a diverse South Africa of rural and urban life, white suburbia, black township, childhood, love, hate, reconciliation, the grim as well as the funny that make up the tapestry of a country as it used to be and as it is today.


Chris van Wyk (1957-2014) was a writer of poetry, books for children, a novel, two memoirs, and other books of non-fiction. His famous poem “In Detention” uses a scrambled language to show how Apartheid police lied about the deaths of political detainees.


ISBN 9780620305006
Pages 238
Dimensions 216 x 140mm
Published 2003
Publisher Botsotso Publishing, South Africa
Format Paperback