Duiker, K. Sello 1974-

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DUIKER, K. Sello 1974-

PERSONAL: Born April 13, 1974, in Orlando West, Soweto, South Africa. Education: Rhodes University, B.A. (journalism and art history).

ADDRESSES: Home—Johannesburg, South Africa. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Kwela Books, P.O. Box 6525, Roggebaai 8012, South Africa.

CAREER: Writer. Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NAIS), writer-in-residence, 2003-04. Has also worked as an advertising copywriter for Harrison Human, Johannesburg, South Africa; and as a scriptwriter for Endemol Productions, London, England.

MEMBER: Seeds Poetry Society (founder).

AWARDS, HONORS: Commonwealth Writers Prize for best first book, Africa Region, 2001, for Thirteen Cents; Herman Charles Bosman Prize for English literature, 2001, for The Quiet Violence of Dreams.


Thirteen Cents (novel), David Phillips (Claremont, South Africa), 2000.

The Quiet Violence of Dreams (novel), Kwela Books (Cape Town, South Africa), 2001.

Contributor to the short story anthology In the Rapids, Kwela Books (Cape Town, South Africa), 2003. Contributor to Backstage.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A novel about reconciliation in the new South Africa.

SIDELIGHTS: South African author K. Sello Duiker received recognition with the 2000 publication of his debut novel, Thirteen Cents. A year later, Duiker's second novel, The Quiet Violence of Dreams, was published and also received wide critical attention. Both works explore the multicultural, economically stratified life in Cape Town, South Africa. Many of Duiker's characters reside on the fringes of society and are refugees of South Africa's unsettled history.

Duiker lived with the street kids of Cape Town to gather material for Thirteen Cents, which is set in the poorer parts of the city, where violence is common. The novel follows an adolescent named Azure (pronounced Ah-zuh-ray) who comes of age as he works odd jobs to survive. Although his environment is tough, Azure is strong and defiant as he faces obstacles that are no longer based on his race but a new inequality based primarily on class.

Sue Valentine, writing in the Johannesburg Sunday Times, stated that the author presents a "gritty and real" story that does not "gloss over the crude realities of life on the streets." Bafana Khumalo, also writing in the Sunday Times, noted that in Thirteen Cents "one can see a young writer who is still maturing as he tries to communicate something close to his heart."

In The Quiet Violence of Dreams, Duiker tells the story of Tshepo, a young man whose somewhat privileged life and upbringing are shattered when his mobster father murders his mother. The incident destroys Tshepo's mental well being, and he turns to drug use as a way to hide from his problems. Tshepo eventually is locked up in a psychiatric hospital and realizes he has to come to grips with who he really is, including accepting his own homosexuality. "But certainly the novel is about more than this," Duiker told Dunton in a Mail and Guardian Online interview. "Tshepo's questions about his sexuality engage him in a bigger journey about what it means to be black, educated. Can the West and Africa be reconciled?" Another primary character in the novel is Tshepo's female friend Mmabatho, who walks between the white and black, as well as the modern and traditional, Cape Town. Duiker told Dunton: "Mmabatho to me serves as a bridge between two worlds. She tries to integrate her own African culture with that of Cape Town and everything that is perceived as outside African culture. In a way, she's her own tapestry." Dunton called The Quiet Violence of Dreams an "ambitious book, both thematically and in terms of its length." Khumalo noted that Duiker finds his voice in The Quiet Violence of Dreams, "and he lets it bellow out in its entire glory."



New York Times, June 24, 2002, Rachel L. Swarns, "South Africa's Black Writers Explore a Free Society's Tensions," p. E1.

Sunday Times (Johannesburg, South Africa), July 9, 2000, Sue Valentine, "Two Tales of One City," review of Thirteen Cents; May 31, 2002, Bafana Khumalo, "Seeking Other Selves" (interview).


Commonwealth Writers Web site,http://www.commonwealthwriters.com/ (November 7, 2002), "Commonwealth Writers Prize 2001."

Contemporary Africa Database,http://people.africadatabase.org/ (August 25, 2004), "K. Sello Duiker."

Mail & Guardian Online (Johannesburg, South Africa), http://www.mg.co.za/ (November 7, 2001), Chris Dunton, "With Many Voices," author interview.

Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences Web site,http://www.nias.knaw.nl/ (August 25, 2004), "K. S. Duiker."

Q-online,http://www.q.co.za/ (August 25, 2004), Victor Lakay, "I'm a Travelling Salesman" (interview with Duiker).*

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Duiker, K. Sello 1974-

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