Herman Charles Bosman’s work is peppered with vernacular phrases, replete with believable characters and characterised by richly evocative landscapes that bring the uniquely South African world he creates to full and vigorous life. Bosman’s fans continue to appreciate his ironic, anecdotal style that has earned him a place among South Africa’s great writers.

Did you know?

Herman Charles Bosman is buried in Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg. His headstone simply reads "The Writer".

The bushveld characters he met while teaching in Groot Marico inspired some of his best-known work, the Oom Schalk Lourens series. In this series, an elderly Oom Schalk Lourens, his skilfully created raconteur, paints a vivid picture of a world full of the hardships that come from scraping a living off the land, but also rich with its beauty and triumphs.

Oom Schalk Lourens' perspective is at times ironic, humorous, imaginative and romantic. His stories often have a twist in their tails and deserve their place among the best short stories produced in South Africa.

This South African writer's teaching career was cut short when, while on a holiday in Johannesburg, he fired a hunting rifle at his stepbrother and killed him. He was sentenced to death, but later a reprieve was granted and he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment with hard labour.

He wrote his first "Oom Schalk Lourens" stories in prison, and this experience also provided the background for his stories in "Cold Stone Jug".

Bosman was released four and a half years into his sentence. Then came nine years spread between Paris, Brussels and London, where he wrote a number of stories, later collected as "Mafeking Road".

At the outbreak of the war in Europe he returned to South Africa where he worked as a journalist and literary editor and became well known for his off-beat lifestyle.

Only three of his books were published during his lifetime; Mafeking Road, Jacaranda in the Night and Cold Stone Jug. Many of his stories were originally published in magazines and journals so there are a number of different collations.

His original books have also been republished many times since his death.

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