Saturday, 25 June 2016 23:37

Ôs Kanna het Hystoe gegan - R.I.P. Adam Small (1936-2016)

Written by Ryan Swano
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Author‚ poet‚ playwright, academic and Black Consciousness leader Adam Small has died at the age of 79 on the morning of Saturday 25 June after complications following an operation.

At a time when Afrikaans was widely regarded as the language of the oppressor, Adam Small claimed it back for the people who the language really belonged to and used it in the dialect that authenticated its origins which is Kaaps, or what many of us today refer to as Afrikaaps.

Well-known Cape Town Arts and Culture Diva, Mavis Vannie Lavis, broke the news of Adam's Small's passing to Bruinou.com earlier today.

"Ek dink Afrikaans het vandag 'n gedeelte van sy hart verloor. Deur die jare het Small vir ons 'n groter stem geword, en 'n groter stem gegee. En... of ons 'n student of 'n cleaner of 'n factory worker was, het Small se poems vi' ons laat proud voel. Ons was mens deur sy skrywe. En regardless van hoe die dice vir ons next gan val, wiet ons dat sy stem in boeke vi ons altyd sal roep". She told Bruinou.com in a heartfelt statement.
"Ôs Kanna het ve'dag Hys toe gegan..."

Tributes for the author of 12 books, among which his plays 'Kanna‚ hy kô hystoe', 'Krismis van Map Jacobs' and 'Joanie Galant-hulle' by most accounts are the best known, have been streaming in on social media throughout the day.

From former students to literary luminaries, to many ordinary members of the public, they all expressed their sadness about his passing but also expressed their gratitude for his contribution to society as well as the role he played in influencing a whole new generation of Afrikaaps authors, play-writers, poets, musicians and performance artists in a way that turned them into veritable cultural activists.

Theo Jonker, radio presenter and writer of the Metrorail Diaries series, which is written in a mixture of English and Afrikaaps also paid tribute in a Facebook update by simply paraphrasing a quote from Adam Small.
""Die Here het geskommel... ennie dice het ve'keed geval." Adam Small, een van SA se grootste seuns."

Adam Small was also well loved among many Akrikaaps Hip Hop artists as for some of them it was his literary work that helped spur them on in their notion that it is ideal to express yourself artistically in your own dialect..

As an academic‚ Adam Small educated many students, first as a philosophy lecturer and then as a professor of social work at the University of the Western Cape in Bellville.

For many years there was much controversy in Afrikaans literary circles because it was felt that Small did not get the recognition he deserved.

In 2009‚ the South African Academy for the Arts and Sciences awarded him a medal upon the celebration of its centenary‚ and in 2012 he won the biggest Afrikaans literary award of all‚ the Hertzog Prize.

Small was born on 21 December 1936 in Wellington. He matriculated in 1953 from St Columba’s High School in Athlone on the Cape Flats. In 1963 he completed an MA (cum laude) in the philosophy of Nicolai Hartmann and Friedrich Nietzsche at the University of Cape Town. He also studied at the University of London and Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Small became a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Fort Hare in 1959, and in 1960 he was one of the academic founders of the University of the Western Cape, when he was appointed Head of the Philosophy Department. In the early 1970s he joined the Black Consciousness movement.

In 1973 he was pressured to resign from the UWC, which prompted a move to Johannesburg, where he became the Head of Student Body Services at Wits University. He returned to Cape Town in 1977, where he was Director of the Western Cape Foundation for Community Services until 1983. In 1984 he returned to the UWC as the Head of the Social Services Department, a position he held until his retirement in 1997.

Adam Small is survived by his wife‚ Rosalie‚ and four children‚ two from a previous marriage.

Keep an eye on the Bruinou.com Facebook Page where we will post the funeral arrangements as soon as it is made public.

Rus in Vrede Adam Small

 

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