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Tydskrif vir Letterkunde

On-line version ISSN 2309-9070
Print version ISSN 0041-476X


CLEOPHAS, Francois. Adam Small: family histories, beginnings and earlier influences. Tydskr. letterkd. [online]. 2012, vol.49, n.1, pp.19-39. ISSN 2309-9070.

This article answers the question: Where does the Afrikaans essayist, dramatist and poet, Adam Small, hail from? It proceeds to examine the genealogy of Small and the early influences of his family. The writer's recent family history is traced to his direct forebears, Adam and Siela Dampies in the early 19th century, and his grandparents Adam and Nellie Dampies. The article further explores the vagaries of name changes in the instance of the Dampies/Small family, the writer's multicultural parental background and his early years in rural and urban settings. In this respect influences on the young writer, emanating from these circumstances, are alluded to. Besides the genealogical information gained from archival research, the article relies methodologically on oral sources, informal accounts and personal recollection. It is found that the extended Small family established a relatively comfortable middle class lifestyle and they were involved at the same time in church and social relief projects. The young Adam Small grew up in a household where values such as social commitment and multi-cultural tolerance were honoured.

Keywords : Adam Small; Afrikaans poets and dramatists; biography; Coloured people; genealogy; oral history.

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