About The Presidency
Latest News
Speeches
Diary
Publications
Topical Issues
Special Projects
National Symbols
Links
Contact The Presidency
Subscribe to our RSS feed
Subscribe to our RSS feed
NATIONAL ORDERS

Nomination form

IZIMBIZO
GOVERNMENT
PROGRAMME OF ACTION

[External link]
QUIZ

<< Home   |   National Orders   |   Recipients

The Order of Ikhamanga in Gold


Awarded to Bessie  Head   (1937 - 1986 ) for

    exceptional contribution to literature and the struggle for social change, freedom and peace

Profile of Bessie  Head

(1937 – 1986) Bessie Head was born in Pietermaritzburg in 1937, the daughter of a mixed race relationship between her Scottish mother and an African man. She was raised by foster parents and later placed in an orphanage.

Exhibiting an early intelligence, she overcame her difficult childhood to train as a primary school teacher. After four years as a teacher, she took up work as a journalist for Golden City Post.

She left for Botswana after a failed marriage. There she lived for many years in deep poverty.

She spent 15 years in a refugee community before she was awarded citizenship. Her three novels and numerous other works were all written in Botswana where she died in 1986 at the young age of 49.

Drawing on her experience as a racially mixed person growing up without a family in South Africa, Head’s writing often dealt with poor and abused black women and their experiences of racism and sexism. Although Head claimed to be non-political in her writing, she portrayed the struggles and hardships of life in post-colonial Africa and the injustices and oppression of people. Inherent in her writings was the hope for social change and peace.

Bessie Head is one of Africa’s most prominent writers. In her short life, she left an important literary legacy to Africa and the world.

 

     
back ^ back to the top
     
 
    About the website | Legal Disclaimer | Website Feedback | Site Map