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BOOKED @ Muse: Ronelda Kamfer

Ronelda S Kamfer

Ronelda Sonnet Kamfer was born on 16 June 1981 in Cape Town, and she spent some of her childhood on a farm in Grabouw where her grandparents were labourers. Kamfer started writing poetry as a teenager as a way to express herself, when in 2005 a friend entered her poems into a competition and months later she was contacted by a publisher informing her that her poems made it into the anthology for Nuwe Stemme 3, published by Tafelberg in 2005.

Her poems were also published in other anthologies such as My ousie is ‘n blom – Snailpress 2006, Bunkerhill 2007 and her debut, Noudat slapende honde – Kwela publishers 2008, for which she received the Eugene Marais prize for poetry.

The muse got acquainted with this gentle wordsmith of ghetto truths at the 14th Annual Poetry Africa Festival where she rocked and lulled the audience at the Elisabeth Sneddon Theater with Afrikaans poetry portraying the lives and dreams of the people in her Cape Flats neighbourhood.

In January she was a participant at the Winternachten festival in The Hague alongside Antjie Krog, which resulted in her book being translated into Dutch. Nu da Slaapende honden, will be released in November by Podium uitgeverij, translated by Alfred Schaffer.

Some of her poems have also been translated into French, Portuguese, and soon Turkish. She will be participating in the Winternachten tour to Turkey at the end of October.

Between her travels to literary festivals, she is reading for an honours degree at the University of the Western Cape, under Prof Antjie Krog. She says, “I am reading my prescribed books, such as Oomblik in die wind by Andre P Brink and Santa Gamka by Eben Venter. I am writing analytical reports on both books, so there is no pleasure in the reading process”. Her daily “staple,” however are the poems by Charles Bukowski and Dylan Thomas, “they are my creative fuel,” she says.


mag die nag jou goed behandel
mag die donker vir jou mooi wees
mag stilte vir jou vrede beteken
en mag die naggeluide jou aan die slaap sus
mag jy drome droom
en nie net slaap nie

waar ek staan
nou sit ek om ‘n tafel
met my voorvaders se vyande
ek knik en groet bedagsaam
erens diep binne my
weet ek waar ek staan
my hart en kop is oop
en soos goed opgevoede mense
lag en eet ons saam
erens diep binne my
weet ek waar ek staan

Poems copyright Ronelda Kamfer


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