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Jonty Driver

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Education  St. Andrew's College

Name  Jonty Driver
Role  Poet
Jonty Driver Jonty Driver Home
Born  1939Cape Town
Occupation  anti-apartheid activist former political prisoner educationalist poet writer
Alma mater  University of Cape Town, Trinity College, Oxford

Charles Jonathan 'Jonty' Driver (born 1939) is a South African anti-apartheid activist, former political prisoner, educationalist, poet and writer.


Jonty Driver Jonty Driver South African History Online


'Jonty' Driver was born in Cape Town in 1939, but spent the years of the Second World War in Kroonstad and Cradock with his mother and younger brother and grandfather who was the rector of the Anglican parish there. During this period his father did wartime service in North Africa. Driver's father was captured by the Axis forces at Tobruk and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner of war in Italy and Germany. When he came back to South Africa, the family moved to Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, where his father was appointed chaplain at St. Andrew's College and where Jonty later did his schooling.

Student days

Driver did his undergraduate study at the University of Cape Town (UCT). He was elected president of the National Union of South African Students in 1963 and again in 1964. In August and September 1964, he was detained without trial by the police and held in solitary confinement, possibly because of his suspected involvement in the African Resistance Movement, on his release he immediately left for England. He went to Trinity College, Oxford, to read for an M.Phil.

While he was at Oxford, the South African authorities refused to renew his passport and he became stateless for several years, eventually becoming a British citizen. For more than twenty years he was prohibited from returning to South Africa.

Work in education

After his time at Oxford, Driver taught at Sevenoaks School and then at Matthew Humberstone Comprehensive School in South Humberside.

In 1976 he was a Research Fellow at the University of York, and for twenty-three years he was a headmaster (Principal, Island School, Hong Kong, 1978–83; Headmaster, Berkhamsted School, 1983-9; Master, Wellington College, 1989–2000).

Writing career

He is now a full-time writer, though he continues his involvement in education.

He has been an honorary senior lecturer at the School of Literature and Creative Writing, University of East Anglia, since 2007. He was a judge for the Caine Prize for African Writing, 2007 and 2008. He was a fellow of the Bogliasco Foundation in 2007. He was a fellow at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, USA, in the fall of 2009, and a fellow at the Hawthornden Writers' Retreat in March/April 2011.

He is married with three children and eight grandchildren.

Published works

  • Elegy for a Revolutionary. David Philip. 1984. ISBN 978-0-86486-015-6. 
  • History of the Relations Between NUSAS, the ASB and the Afrikaans University Centres: Covering the Period 1960–1963. Supplement. National Union of South African Students. 1964.  with Adrian Leftwich
  • Patrick Duncan: South African and Pan-African. James Currey Publishers. 2000. ISBN 978-0-85255-773-0. 
  • Jack Cope. D. Philip. 1979. ISBN 978-0-908396-11-5. 
  • Death of Fathers. Faber & Faber, Limited. 2011. ISBN 978-0-571-26050-8. 
  • A Messiah of the Last Days. Faber & Faber, Limited. 2010. ISBN 978-0-571-27000-2. 
  • So Far: Selected Poems, 1960–2004. Snailpress. 2005. ISBN 978-1-904724-27-8. 
  • Hong Kong Portraits. Perpetua Press. 1986. ISBN 978-0-9511667-0-3. 
  • The Man with the Suitcase: The Life, Execution and Rehabilitation of John Harris, Liberal Terrorist. Cape Town: Crane River. 2015. ISBN 9780620668521. 
  • "Used to be Great Friends". Granta: 7–26. 2002. Retrieved August 2014. 
  • Send War in Our Time, O Lord. Faber & Faber, Limited. 2011. ISBN 978-0-571-25965-6. 
  • "Alan Paton's Hofmeyr". Race & Class. 6 (4): 269–280. 1965. ISSN 0306-3968. doi:10.1177/030639686500600403. 
  • "Rhodes? The swine did some good". Rand Daily Mail. 20 March 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-30. 
  • References

    Jonty Driver Wikipedia

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