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DJ Opperman Honorary Lecture

D.J. Opperman (1914-1985) was a member of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch at the University of Stellenbosch 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 the death of D.J. Opperman in 1985, Prof. Lina Spies, at that stage a faculty member at the University of Pretoria, started investigating the possibility of instituting an honorary 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 D.J. Opperman honorary lecture was instituted in 1986. The first of these honorary lectures was delivered by Prof. Lina Spies on the 8th of May 1987. Since 1987 the following lectures were delivered to honour Opperman's contribution:

1987 – Prof. L. Spies: Besieling en behoud: die boodskap van D.J. Opperman vir ons tyd [Inspiration and conservation: D.J. Opperman's message for our time]

1989 – Prof. A.P. Grové: Teoretisering oor die poësie en Opperman se digterskap [Theorising on poetry and D.J. Opperman as poet]

1991 – Prof. J.C. Kannemeyer: "Die rotsmusiek van eie hiëroglief": 'n visie anderkant die teks ["The rock music of own hieroglyph": a vision beyond the text]

1993 – Prof. J.J. Degenaar: Die vindingrykheid van metaforiese taalgebruik [The ingenuity of metaphorical language use]

1995 – Prof. E. Botha: "Kuns is boos!": die digter as Erlkönig ["Art is evil!": the poet as Erlkönig]

1997 – Prof. H. Snyman: D.J. Opperman en die mitologie [D.J. Opperman and mythology]

1999 – Prof. H.P. van Coller: Die bloemleser as kanoniseerder [The anthologiser as canoniser]

2001 – Prof. A.P. Brink: Groot verseboek: Kanon of haelgeweer? [Groot verseboek: Cannon or shotgun?]

2003 – Karel Schoeman: Onderhoud gevoer deur Jakes Gerwel en Louise Viljoen [Karel Schoeman: Interview conducted by Jakes Gerwel and Louise Viljoen]

2005 – Prof. G.J. Gerwel: Vertrekpunt vir die vorming van 'n nuwe Akademie vir Afrikaans [Starting point for the formation of a new Academy for Afrikaans]

2007 – Prof. H.C. Aucamp: Die allure van die onvolledige met spesifieke verwysing na Sonklong oor Afrika van D.J. Opperman [The allure of the incomplete with specific reference to Sonklong oor Afrika by D.J. Opperman]

2009 – Prof. A.E. Krog: 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]

2011 – Prof. L. Spies: God, die magtige magneet: die religieuse motief in die poësie van D.J. Opperman [God, the mighty magnet: the religious motif in D.J. Opperman's poetry]

2013 - Prof. H.E.J. van Vuuren: D.J. Opperman se laatwerk [D.J. Opperman's late work]

2014 Herdenking van Opperman se geboortedag honderd jaar gelede op  29 September 2014

2017  Prof. W. Burger: Opperman en die Afrikaanse Literatuurkritiek