ACT Award for Literature to Elsa Joubert

The Famous Idea Trading Company
11/09/2013 10:09:24

The Arts & Culture Trust named author Elsa Joubert as the 2013 winner of the ACT Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature, sponsored by Media24 Books.

Born Elsabé Antoinette Murray Joubert, the life’s work of the 91 year old writer has been acknowledged with honorary doctorates from the Universities of Stellenbosch (2001) and Pretoria (2007), the award of the Order of Ikhamanga (2004), and now also the ACT Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature.

Joubert matriculated from La Rochelle Girls' High in Paarl, before obtaining BA degree and Higher Education Diploma, both from the University of Stellenbosch, and a Masters Degree from the University of Cape Town. She was the women's editor of Die Huisgenoot from 1946 to 1948, before embarking on a life of travel. Her first travel book, Water en Woestyn, was published in 1957, chronicling her experiences in Egypt and Uganda.

Elsa Joubert's travels through Africa, South America and the Far East were reflected in her writing in a unique way; and this led to significant recognition of her work. Her first novel, Ons Wag op die Kaptein, was published in 1963, and was awarded, amongst others, the Eugène Marais prize.

She was awarded the WA Hofmeyer, CNA and Louis Luyt prizes for her important novel, Die Swerfjare van Poppie Nongena (1978), which was listed in 2002 as one of the 100 best books in Africa.

In 1981, the British Royal Society of Literature awarded her the Winifred Holtby prize, and she also became a Fellow of the Society.

Her masterly novel, Die Reise van Isobelle (1995), was awarded the coveted Hertzog Prize.

Acknowledging receipt of the award, Joubert said “I am a writer in Afrikaans. The language of my heart liberates and shapes my thoughts and emotions. My book – Poppie Nongena, the life of an African woman – was written in Afrikaans, the home language of both Poppie and myself. Only then could I translate it into English and reach a wider public. Black writers all over South Africa are presenting their books in English. More and more Afrikaans writers are starting to publish, simultaneously, Afrikaans and English editions of their work. Translating seems to be the road to the future. By translation the books become the common property of South African conversation. Through books we can unite South Africa. As a writer in Afrikaans, as a South African writer, I am deeply honoured by your recognition of my contribution of the South African conversation.”

The 2013 ACT Awards ceremony was presented in association with the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO), the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO), Media24 Books, and the Vodacom Foundation and is supported by the Distell Foundation, CLASSICfeel Magazine, Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), KykNet and Pink Room Productions. The Awards scores are audited by Independent Registered Auditor, AL van Heerden.

For more information about the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) please visit


About the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT):

The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) is South Africa’s premier independent arts funding and development agency. The primary aim of ACT is to increase the amount of funding available for arts and culture initiatives, and to apply these funds to innovative, sustainable projects that make a meaningful contribution to society. Through structured funding programmes, ACT provides support for all expressions of arts and culture, including literature, music, visual art, theatre and dance, and the support extends to festivals, community arts initiatives, arts management, arts education and arts administration.

To receive updates follow ACT on Twitter at!/actorgza or like the Trust’s Facebook page at

Media24 Books

Media24 Books is a division of Media24 and forms part of the Naspers group of companies. It comprises the trade publishers NB Publishers and Jonathan Ball Publishers, the schools publishing group Via Afrika Education, the higher education publisher Van Schaik Publishers and the book club business Leserskring/Leisure Books.

The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO)

Established in 1962, with the key objective to protect the intellectual property of its composer, songwriter, and publisher members, the organisation’s primary focus is to administer the various music rights of Copyright on behalf of writer and publisher members. The collecting society, as it is known, is mainly concerned with the collection of license fees for the use of its members’ musical works by various music users, the distribution of royalties to these members, and the promotion of Copyright law. For more information, please visit

The Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Organisation (DALRO)

DALRO is a multi-purpose copyright society that collects royalties for the use of copyright-protected works on behalf of authors and publishers, which it then distributes back to the correct copyright-owner. As a custodian of copyright and the protection of rightsholders’ works, DALRO’s main areas of administration are reprographic reproduction rights (photocopying from published editions), public performance rights (including stage rights for book musicals and dramas) and reproduction rights (whether for publishing or copying) in works of visual art. For more information please visit

The Vodacom Foundation

In South Africa, Vodacom established the Vodacom Foundation in 1999 as the primary vehicle for implementing the company’s Corporate Social Investment initiatives. With its primary focus on education and health, the Vodacom Foundation identifies and supports sustainable projects that help counter social deprivation. These projects provide a channel through which the company shares its profits with the communities in which it operates. Through the Vodacom Foundation, the company is able to provide a single entry point to respond to the various requests for social development support it receives on a regular basis.

Distell Foundation

Distell, one of South Africa’s premier producers of fine wines, spirits and ready to drink alcoholic beverages, has actively been supporting the arts for more than forty years. Ongoing support is given to a broad range of creative arts development projects that build economic growth, artistic talent, create jobs and enhances excellence in the sector. For more information please visit

Business and Arts South Africa NPC

Business and Arts South Africa is an internationally recognised development agency which incorporates the arts into, and contributes to, corporates’ commercial success. With a suite of integrated programmes, Business and Arts South Africa encourages mutually beneficial partnerships between business and the arts in order to grow SHARED VALUE. Business and Arts South Africa was founded in 1997 as a joint initiative of government (Department of Arts and Culture) and the business sector, as a public/private partnership.

CLASSICfeel Magazine

CLASSICfeel Magazine is an award winning monthly arts and culture magazine that brings the best in classical and jazz music, dance, visual arts, film and theatre, as well as food and travel, to its readers. The magazine is dedicated to promoting arts and culture in South Africa. CLASSICfeel Magazine has garnered many prestigious awards, including the Arts and Culture Trust (ACT) Awards, as well as SAPPI PICA Award for excellence in publishing and the coveted BASA (Business and Arts in South Africa) Award. Account:
Gilly Hemphill
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The Arts and Culture Trust (ACT)