Human & Rousseau

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Rachelle Greeff

Biographical info

Rachelle studied B.Drama at the University of Stellenbosch and thereafter an Honours in Journalism (cum laude). 

In the Eighties she worked as reporter at Die Burger and Huisgenoot and in the new millennium she was books editor at Rapport for six years. In between she worked as editor, developer of manuscripts, translator, and book reviewer.

She made her debut in 1990 with Die rugkant van die bruid, and received the CNA Debut Prize. Rachelle received the RAU Prize for Creative Writing in 2002 for her short story collection Merke van die nag. Some of her short stories were included in anthologies that appeared in America (New letters), Belgium (Deus ex machina), Denmark (Opbrud) and the Netherlands (Dochters van Afrika).

Did you know?  

  • Her second play, Buitepos, opens at the 2012 Woordfees in Stellenbosch. The actors include Marko van der Colff, Deidre Wolhuter and Jill Middlekop.
  • She received the Sanlam Literary Award in 1999 for the short story “Tell him it is never too late”, and the same short story was shortlisted in 2003 for the Caine Prize for an English short story written and published by an African writer in Africa or elsewhere. It originally appeared in The torn veil – women’s short stories from the continent Africa (1998).
  • In 2005 Rachelle won the Stellenbosch Woordfees, Protea Boekehuis, and LitNet's national short story competition with her story “Swiets in Rhodesië”.
  • Rachelle's play, Die naaimasjien, won the Nagtegaal prize for texts  in 2008. It was staged 109 times from 2009 till 2011, with Sandra Prinsloo in the leading role. At the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK) it won the Herrie Kanna Popularity Prize as well as the 2010 Fleur du Cap for Best Indigenous Text. The play had its origins in a short story that appeared in BY (Saturday supplement to Die Burger).

Author bookshelf

Die naaimasjien en ander stories, Tafelberg (2015)
Alles behalwe die geheim van my whiskies
, Human & Rousseau (2008)
Palazzo van die laaste dans, Kwela (2006)
Hanna, Tafelberg (2002)
Merke van die nag, Tafelberg (2001)


CNA Debut Prize (1991) – Die rugkant van die bruid
Sanlam Literature Prize (1999) – For the short story “Tell him it is never too late”
ATKV Children’s Book Prize 3-5 years (2000) – Net perfek
RAU Prize for creative writing (2002) – Merke van die nag
Winner of the Woordfees’ national Afrikaans short story competition (2005) – For her short story “Swiets in Rhodesië”.
Nagtegaal Prize (2008) – For her play Die naaimasjien
KKNK's Herrie Popularity Prize (2009) – Die Naaimasjien
Fleur du Cap Prize for Best Indigenous Text (2010) – Die Naaimasjien

List of titles

1990 Die rugkant van die bruid (short stories)
1993 Onwaarskynlike engele (short stories)
1996 Al die windrigtings van my wêreld (novel)
1998 Spektakels en mirakels (compilation of her columns)
2001 Merke van die nag (short stories)
2002 Hanna (novel)
2006 Palazzo van die laaste dans (short stories)
2008 Alles behalwe die geheim van my whiskies (compilation of her columns)
2011 Die Naaimasjien (play) LAPA Uitgewers
2015 Die naaimasjien en ander stories (short stories)

Children’s books
1996 Enebene en die ander (’n Ster storie)
1999 Net perfek
2004 ’n Ma moet soms jok (Rimpelstories)

1993 Veerkrag
1994 Lyfspel/Bodyplay: erotiese kortverhale deur Suid-Afrikaanse vroue

1991 Vuurslag
1992 Die wond en ander verhale
1994 Vrouevertellers
1998 The torn veil
1998 Borde, borde, boordevol
1999 Die mooiste liefde is verby
1999 Vonkfiksie


Al die windrigtings van my wêreld (1996): German (Wohin der wind dich trägt, 1999), Dutch (Alle windrichtingen van mijn leven, 2002; Het huis aan de voet van de Tafelberg, 2004)



“Greeff’s play (Die Naaimasjien) is a precious gift: it is an accomplished, and triumphant, celebration of what it means to be human.” – Tyrone August, Cape Times, 17 February 2011.

“A story that explores the shadows and woundedness, the hidden desires and silent violence of life in movingly poetic prose.” – Cape Times on Hanna (2003)

“The collection forms a unity which firstly tells about scars: in friendship, marriage and in the relationship between parent and child. It also narrates loss, passion, longing and unfulfilled love. It is a story of South Africa, where you are robbed and your privacy is intruded upon.” – Ampie Coetzee on Merke van die nag

Books By This Author