Human & Rousseau

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Author Focus

Herman Charles Bosman

Biographical info

Herman Charles Bosman was born in Kuilsrivier on February 3 1905. He attended school in Johannesburg and studied at the University of the Witwatersrand. He subsequently became a teacher in the Great Marico district.

In 1926 he was sentenced to death after his stepbrother died in a shooting incident, but it was later mitigated to a prison sentence. He was released in 1930 and went to live in Johannesburg and later in England, where he worked. When the Second World War broke out, he returned to South Africa. He worked as poet, writer and journalist. He died of a heart attack on October 14 1951.

Herman Charles Bosman is one of South Africa’s finest storytellers. His debut was in 1947 with a collection of short stories, Mafeking Road and other stories. His other famous works are Cold Stone Jug (1949) and A Cask of Jerepigo (1957).

Did you know?

· Herman Charles Bosman’s collection of short stories, Mafeking Road, has never been out of print since it was first published in 1947.
· He sometimes used the pseudonym Herman Malan. His mother’s maiden name was Malan.
· He wrote a number of Afrikaans short stories and poems that were published in magazines such as Die Ruiter, On/Op Parade, Trek and Die Brandwag. In 2001 a collection of his Afrikaans short stories with the title Verborge skatte was published.
· He translated the Rubaijat of Omar Khajjam in Afrikaans in 1948.
· He is especially renowned for his “Oom Schalk Lourens” and “Voorkamer” stories. The actor Patrick Mynhardt won acclaim for his interpretation of Oom Schalk Lourens. He died in 2007 and was buried next to Herman Charles Bosman in the Westpark cemetary in Johannesburg.

Author bookshelf

The Complete Voorkamerstories, Human & Rousseau (2011)
The Complete Oom Schalk Lourens Stories, Human & Rousseau (2009)
Mafeking Road and other stories, Human & Rousseau (2009)
Bosman at his best, Human & Rousseau (2005)
Homecoming: Voorkamer-stories II, Human & Rousseau (2005)
Jacaranda in the Night, Human & Rousseau (2005)
Wild Seed, Human & Rousseau (2004)
My Life and Opinions, Human & Rousseau (2003)
A Cask of Jerepigo, Human & Rousseau (2002)
Verborge skatte, Human & Rousseau (2001)
Old Transvaal Stories, Human & Rousseau (2000)


1947 Mafeking Road and Other Stories, Human & Rousseau
1947 Jacaranda in the Night, Human & Rousseau
1949 Cold Stone Jug, Human & Rousseau
1949 Veld-trails and pavements (with Carel Bredell), Afrikaanse Pers Boekhandel
1957 Cask of Jerepigo, Central News Agency
1963 Unto dust (compiled by Lionel Abrahams), Anthony Blond
1965 Bosman at his best: a choice of stories and sketches (compiled by Lionel Abrahams), Human & Rousseau
1971 A Bekkersdal marathon, Human & Rousseau
1974 The Earth is Waiting
1977 Willemsdorp, Human & Rousseau
1979 Almost Forgotten Stories, H. Timmins
1980 Selected Stories (compiled by Stephen Gray, Human & Rousseau
1981 The Collected Works of Herman Charles Bosman (compiled by Lionel Abrahams), Jonathan Ball
1981 The Bosman I like (compiled by Patrick Mynhardt), Human & Rousseau
1981 Death Hath Eloquence, Christelike Uitgewersmaatskappy
1981 Uncollected essays, Timmins
1985 The Illustrated Bosman, Jonathan Ball
1986 Bosman’s Johannesburg (compiled by Stephen Gray), Human & Rousseau
1987 Ramoutsa Road, AD Donker
1987 Makapan's cave and other stories (compiled by Stephen Gray), Penguin Books
1991 A Bosman Treasury (compiled by Ian Lusted), Human & Rousseau
1991 Jurie Steyn’s Post Office, Human & Rousseau
1998 Herman Charles Bosman: the prose juvenilia (compiled by M.C. Andersen), University of South Africa
1999 Idle talk: voorkamerstories (compiled by Craig MacKenzie), Human & Rousseau
2000 Old Transvaal Stories (compiled by Craig MacKenzie), Human & Rousseau
2000 The Rooinek and Other Boer War Stories (compiled by Craig MacKenzie), Human & Rousseau
2001 Best of Bosman (compiled by Stephen Gray and Craig MacKenzie), Human & Rousseau
2001 Seed-Time and Harvest and Other Stories (compiled by Craig MacKenzie), Human & Rousseau
2001 Verborge skatte (compiled by Leon de Kock), Human & Rousseau

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