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Biography of Sello DUIKER

South Africa > Literature : Sello DUIKER

Born on 13/04/1974 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Sello Duiker born April 13 1974- died January 19, 2005, was the considered the most promising of the emerging generation of black South African writers. He had a large following, based on only two books:
thirteen cents (2000) which was awarded the Commonwealth Prize for a first novel (Africa Region) 2001. 
• The Quiet Violence of Dreams (2001), which was awarded the Herman Charles Bosman Prize for English Literature and was runner-up for the Sunday Times Literary Award (200


 K. Sello Duiker took his own life on 19 January 2005, a little over a month after another gifted young South African writer, Phaswane Mpe, had died, and at whose funeral he had read the eulogy. Duiker, who suffered from bipolar affective disorder, committed suicide in a state of depression he attributed to his mood-stabilising medication, which he felt was “taking too great a toll on his artistic creativity and joie de vivre”

For many aspiring South African writers he served as a role model of someone who fearlessly tackled unconventional themes and explored new terrain; for an older generation of writers, for Zakes Mda and Lewis Nkosi in particular, his work epitomised the best of post-1994 South African black writing.
Because of his standing as a writer, he was regularly invited to local and international writers' festivals and offered a variety of residencies in the UK,Germany, Holland and Switzerland, among others.
Duiker published two books and was busy on a third, scheduled for publication .

For his debut novel, Thirteen cents (David Philip), which deals with street children in CapeTown, he was awarded the 20 01Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best First Book, Africa region. His second and more ambitious The quiet violence of Dreams (Kwela Books), which challenged ingrained myths about maleness and black sexuality, was awarded the 2002 Herman Charles Bosman Prize. This second novel
appeared in Dutch translation in 2004. Asked to comment onThe quiet violence, Duiker wrote to his Dutch publishers: `

In a South African context I was writing for people between 23 and 30 years of age - people in my age group, because our generation is confronted with different changes happening around us, and I wanted to communicate something of the pressures and contradictions facing us. I think the book
is not politically correct although it is a sensitive account of what I think is happening in South Africa right now. It's a young black man's view of what is happening - it explores youth culture and what it means to be young. It is also an overt exploration of current suburban culture. It explores a lot of social geography, from the obscenely rich to the poorest parts of CapeTown. Essentially it's a rite- of-passage novel. It represents young Africans, not as exclusively black, but just as complex as anyone else, and [will make
Dutch readers] realise that young people in South Africa have to deal with the same challenges that people in the North do. We in Africa are not all that different.

KSello Duiker, the eldest of three brothers, was born in Soweto on13 April 1974in a wealthy family . He spent a large part of his childhood in Soweto but also received part of his schooling in England, where his father worked for an international company. After school he spent a gap year working in rural France. He obtained a BA degree in journalism from Rhodes University and also briefly attended University of CapeTown (UCT). He worked as a copywriter in advertising, a scriptwriter for television and the f inal posi- tion was as commissioning editor at the SABC. He died at his own hand in Johannesburg on 19 January 20 05, at a time when he felt his mood-stabilising medication was taking too great a toll on his artistic creativity and joie de vivre.

His death shocked literary and readers' circles, where he was much admired, especially by young writers. His passing robs South Africa of a talented, perceptive chronicler of its complex evolution.

His parents and two brothers survive him.

 Quotes:Heroes and heroines generally get praise and acknowledgement long after they have passed on, but K Sello Duiker was that rarity – an artist whose literary prowess hit us in our collective face with such vehemence that we couldn’t help but sing his praises while he was still alive.
— Fred Khumalo, Sunday Times

Last update : 04/12/2010

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