Afrikaans & Dutch
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DJ Opperman Memorial Lecture

About DJ Opperman

(Painting by Philip Terblanche)

DJ Opperman.jpgDiederik Johannes Opperman (1914 - 1985) was a member of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch at Stellenbosch University from 1960 until his retirement in 1979. As lecturer and supervisor he introduced several generations of students to the secrets of Afrikaans and world literature; as lecturer he also started a ‘Literary Laboratory’ in which he guided young writers and critics. As poet he published nine ground-breaking volumes of poetry and three important verse dramas; as academic he published one of the most important studies about the Afrikaans poets of the nineteen thirties and a series of influential essays; as role-player in the literary domain he published a series of anthologies of poetry (among which the several editions of the Groot Verseboek which became an important instrument canonizing Afrikaans poetry); and as reader for different publishing houses he played a prominent role in the formation of poets.

After Opperman’s death in 1985, Prof Lina Spies, at that time a faculty member at the University of Pretoria, started investigating the possibility of instituting a memorial lecture in Opperman’s name. On the initiative of the then professors in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, Johan Smuts, Merwe Scholtz, Johan Combrinck and Fritz Ponelis, and with the approval of Mrs Marié Opperman, the biannual DJ Opperman memorial lecture was instituted in 1986. The first of these memorial lectures was delivered by Prof Lina Spies on 8 May 1987. Since that date, the following lectures have been delivered to honour Opperman’s contribution. (Click on the icon to access the full text or view the video.)

​2023Prof L Viljoen
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DJ Opperman gelees teen die agtergrond van die ‘nuwe’
[DJ Opperman read against the background of the ‘new’]
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​2017Prof W Burger
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Opperman en die Afrikaanse literatuurkritiek
[Opperman and Afrikaans literary criticism]
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​2014Opperman-crop.jpg​Celebration of Opperman’s hundredth birthday on 29 September 2014
Prof HEJ van Vuuren
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DJ Opperman se laatwerk
[DJ Opperman’s late work]

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Prof L Spies
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God, die magtige magneet: Die religieuse motief in die poësie van DJ Opperman
[God, the mighty magnet: The religious motif in DJ Opperman’s poetry]

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Prof AE Krog
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Die verkleurmannetjie(s) op Sjaka: ’n Vergelyking van die manifestasie van Shaka in die gedig van Opperman en die Sesotho-roman van Thomas Mofolo
[The chameleon(s) on Shaka: A comparison between the manifestation of Shaka in Opperman’s poem and the Sesotho novel by Thomas Mofolo]

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Prof HC Aucamp
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Die allure van die onvolledige met spesifieke verwysing na Sonklong oor Afrika van DJ Opperman [The allure of the incomplete with specific reference to Sonklong oor Afrika by DJ Opperman]

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Prof GJ Gerwel
Vertrekpunt vir die vorming van ’n nuwe Akademie vir Afrikaans
[Starting point for the formation of a new Academy for Afrikaans]

Karel Schoeman
Onderhoud gevoer deur prof Jakes Gerwel en prof Louise Viljoen
[Interview conducted by Prof Jakes Gerwel and Prof Louise Viljoen]

Prof AP Brink
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Groot verseboek: Kanon of haelgeweer?
[Groot verseboek: Can(n)on or shotgun?]

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Prof HP van Coller
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Die bloemleser as kanoniseerder
[The anthologist as canoniser]

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Prof H Snyman
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Opperman en die mitologie
[DJ Opperman and mythology]

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Prof E Botha
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“Kuns is boos!”: Die digter as Erlkönig
[“Art is evil!”: The poet as Erlkönig]

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Prof JJ Degenaar
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Die vindingrykheid van metaforiese taalgebruik
[The ingenuity of metaphorical language use]

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Prof JC Kannemeyer
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“Die rotsmusiek van eie hiëroglief”: ’n Visie anderkant die teks
[“The rock music of own hieroglyph”: A vision beyond the text]

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Prof AP Grové

Teoretisering oor die poësie en Opperman se digterskap
[Theorising on poetry and DJ Opperman as poet]

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​1987Prof L Spies
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Besieling en behoud: Die boodskap van DJ Opperman vir ons tyd
[Inspiration and conservation: DJ Opperman’s message for our time]