Saturday, June 20, 2015

Our June Author: Andre Brink

This month we are reading Philida, a novel by the late South African writer, AndrĂ© Brink.

The story is set in 1832, a year before slavery is abolished in South Africa, and the titular character was inspired by an actual slave woman related to Brink's family. The historical skeleton came to Brink via the Solms Delta Museum van de Caab which unfortunately doesn't have much of a web presence. The Stellenbosh Village Museum's website, (a village that also appears in the book) is a little more extensive and offers this tour through various historical eras:

I also found South African History Online a useful site to orient myself to historical events mentioned in the book such as Galant and the 1825 slave uprising.

In brief interviews for The Guardian and NPR, Brink talks about writing from the point of view of a black woman and the historical basis for the novel.  In addition I found this interview from The Biblio File (also available via iTunes) useful for learning more about the author as it mostly concerns his memoir, A Fork in the Road.

Philida has been made into a musical! Brink's wife has posted photos of the production on her blog.

Finally, check out Amnesty International's human rights concerns in present day South Africa here.
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