I first met Izak de Vries in the leafy subtropical town of Thohoyandou in Venda some sixteen years ago. It was then that I was introduced to his talent as a writer of Afrikaans literature, shortly after the publication of his first book Kom Slag n Bees. Recently Izak and his family spent a holiday in the Clarens area and I was again able to spend some time in the company of this warm and talented man. I put the suggestion to him that he write something about our village and the surrounds for the Clarens News, and he readily agreed, hoping to convey something of the first time visitor’s impressions of the area. Izak has had a career devoted to creativity in the Afrikaans language. In 1993 he was the first recipient of the M-Net Scholarship for Creative Writing and studied under the tutorship of the prolific Afrikaans author, Etienne van Heerden. Since his first book he has written a second, Byna Liefde. It seems that the writing gene in Izak’s family faithfully delivers published authors. Both his maternal grandparents were known in literary circles. The Afrikaans novelist, Marinda van Zyl, and the acclaimed author, Abraham de Vries, are both relatives on his father’s side. Izak is currently a publishing consultant at Lapa Publishers. He also writes extensively (though not exclusively) about the South African literary scene. I have discovered too that he is a most talented photographer and has put together a lovely little portfolio of photographs on his blog, taken while on holiday in our area. Izak and his wife Elma, a medical doctor, their son Jabu, and their foster daughter Mashi live in Mowbray, Cape Town. While this is a fair distance from Clarens, hopefully our community’s artistic, creative and literary bent will attract Izak to this area again. And again.
Click here to read Izak’s article