Ingrid Jonker is perhaps best known for her suicide. She walked into the sea at Three Anchor Bay, Cape Town, in the early hours of July 20, 1965 and so ended her short, talented life as one of South Africa's most gifted poets. At the time she was in the grip of an enormous emotional upheaval, not an uncommon state in her life. She has become during the past half-century an icon for a number of reasons: her anti-establishment political views (as expressed in her poems) and perhaps for the passion and drama of her tumultuous love life. Probably the crowning glory of her fame came when President Nelson Mandela quoted her in his inaugural address to Parliament on May 24, 1994, when he read her poem, Child shot dead by soldiers at Nyanga. He went on to say: "She was both a poet and a South African."She was both an Afrikaner and an African. This book deals successively with her childhood from 1935 to 1951, her life in Cape Town between 1952 and 1965, and her brief marriage to Piet Venter from 1957 to 1959. It also deals with the "Clifton years" from 1960 to 1962, her trip abroad with Brink in 1963 and 1964, and her tragic death in 1965. This is an heirloom book to be savoured, attractive and appropriate enough to be used as a coffee-table book. But its real impact comes from carefully reading and reflecting on the material within.
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