Antjie Krog was born in 1952 and grew up on a farm in the Orange Free State in South Africa. She studied Afrikaans, philosophy and English at the University of the Orange Free State, gained a Master’s from the University of Pretoria and a teaching diploma from the University of South Africa. Krog ran workshops, among other things, in rural areas for the South African Congress of Writers.
With her first volume of poetry, »Daughter of Jephta« (1970), the author’s taboo-breaking style – written in Afrikaans – provoked the literary public. In addition to volumes of poetry and children’s books, she has also written a literary report about the hearings of the Truth Commission, which she had already reported about as a radio journalist over a period of two years prior to that. Antjie Krog gained international recognition with »Country of My Skull«, about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which, after the downfall of Apartheid, attempted to deal with the country’s past without resorting to judicial sentences. In semi-fictional and documentary passages, she sensitively reports about this historically unique coming together of victims and perpetrators, which was set up with the objective of achieving forgiveness and reconciliation. She received the award of the Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture for this book, which was also filmed, in 2000. »Down to My Last Skin« appeared in the same year. It was Krog’s first volume of poetry in English. She published two more literary reports with »A Change of Tongue« (2003) and »Begging to be Black« (2009). »A Change of Tongue« is a taking stock of the situation in South Africa during the first ten years following Apartheid. In a collage of heterogeneous materials – interviews, fragments of poems, children’s rhymes, letters and newspaper articles – she opens up a great number of unusual perspectives towards the opportunities and risks of radical change. Her poetry volume, »Skinned: Poems«, a collection of new and older poems, appeared in 2013 and included a long epic poem about the Scotswoman, Lady Anne Barnard, who lived in Cape Town in around 1800 and was a figure symbolic of colonialism.
Antjie Krog has been awarded South Africa’s most important literary prizes for her poetry, prose and documentary texts. Her works have been translated into five European languages, although not yet into German. In addition to her writing work, Antjie Krog has also translated different works into Afrikaans, among these Nelson Mandela’s autobiography »Long Walk of Freedom« as well as writings from various indigenous South African languages. Antjie Krog lives with her family in Cape Town. She is currently a guest of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program.