The following persons currently serve as board members:
The Consul-General of the Netherlands (Ex officio)
G de la Bat
CN van der Merwe (Vice Chair)
WJ van Zyl (Chair)
- PE Westra
Dr C Bouwens
Christianne Bouwens is Head of the Special Unit: Geriatric Medicine at the Tygerberg Academic Hospital, Stellenbosch University.
Prof M Burden
Matilda Burden obtained all her qualifications at Stellenbosch University (SU). Her DPhil dissertation is titled Die Afrikaanse volkslied onder die bruinmense. She is the cultural historian at the University Museum of SU, where she designs, researches and sets up exhibitions. She also provides training in heritage conservation and the establishment of museums throughout the country. She furthermore fills the position of Professor Extraordinaire at the North-West University, Potchefstroom campus, and acts as promoter for Master’s and PhD candidates in cultural history. She frequently publishes articles in academic journals. Her book Ou-Kaapse meubels. Studies in style was published in 2013 (English translation in 2015). She serves on various international, national and provincial boards of organisations related to culture and heritage, and, amongst others, as vice-president of the International Folksong Society.
Mr G de la Bat
After undergraduate studies at the Stellenbosch University, Gawie de la Bat completed an MA in Clinical Psychology at the University of the Free State (1991) and a Master’s degree in Business Leadership at the University of South Africa (1997). He became involved with selection and recruitment during his military service in the Army, as well as with training and development. He did similar work in different organisations and was involved in management development and change management. He was head of training at First National Bank in the Western Cape where he did financial training. Having completed a Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning at the Stellenbosch University in 2011, he currently works as portfolio manager at Innovation Wealth in Bellville.
Prof PH Foster
Ronel Foster was a lecturer in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch at the Stellenbosch University from 1987 to 2014. Her doctoral dissertation dealing with postmodern poetry focused specifically on Die Heengaanrefrein by Wilma Stockenström. Her research on comparative literature (Afrikaans, Dutch, Flemish) has led to two international academic publications, Over grenzen / Oor grense (2009) and Toenadering (2012), for which she acted as main and co-editor respectively. Her volume of poetry, Skoop, was awarded the Eugène Marais Prize by the South African Academy for Science and Arts. She is the co-anthologist of Poskaarte. Beelde van die Afrikaanse poësie sedert 1960 and Nuwe stemme 4. She, furthermore, is (or was) a founder member of the Literary Support Committee, chief organiser of the Creative Writing Workshops of SU, member of the Cape Forum for Dutch Studies and member of the Ingrid Jonker Prize committee.
Prof PB Hesseling
Peter Hesseling was born in Veenendal, the Netherlands, in 1943 and immigrated to South Africa in 1950. He is Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health at Stellenbosch University (his alma mater), where he taught for 30 years. His field of specialisation is paediatric oncology, which involves the development of cancer treatment programmes for children in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa (Cameroon, Malawi and Ghana). He was the first president of the African branch of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology. Since 1990, he has exerted himself in establishing exchange programmes for medical students with universities in the Low Countries. Amongst the awards he has received are an honorary degree – FCPSA (Ped) – from the College of Medicine and the GA Oettlé Medal, presented by the Cancer Association of South Africa. Furthermore, he is a Paul Harris fellow of the Rotary Club. He has published more than 200 academic articles. As of 2017 he once again has a NRF rating. He received a “Lifetime Achievement Award in Pediatric Oncology” from the International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP) in 2019.
Dr S Loots
Sonja Loots is a senior lecturer in School of Languages at that University of Cape Town, where she lectures at undergraduate and postgraduate level. In 2016 she obtained her PhD at Stellenbosch University on encyclopedic fiction in the prose oeuvre of Marlene van Niekerk. She furthermore is a columnist for the national Sunday paper Rapport and a novelist. Her novel, Sirkusboere (2011), was awarded the Eugène Marais Prize, the M-Net Prize for Afrikaans Fiction, the UCT Book Prize and the K. Sello Duiker Memorial Award. She is co-compiler of Die nuwe Afrikaanse prosaboek (2019). She served on the board of the convocation of Stellenbosch University and the board of the Afrikaans Literature Association, and is a former president of PEN Afrikaans. At present she is the secretary of the Southern African Association for Dutch Studies and president of the Cape Forum for Dutch Studies.
Mr Harry Molenaar
Harry Molenaar started his career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1980 and worked in Bangkok, Harare, Athens and The Hague. From 1997-2001 het acted as Consul-General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Cape Town. Thereafter he was Dutch Ambassador in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbeijan (2001-2005), Inspector at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague (2005-2007), Chargé d’Affaires in Rwanda and Burundi (2008), Ambassador in Zambia and Malawi (2008-2012), in Iraq (2012-2013) and in Malaysia (2013-2016); and finally Advisor, Human Resources Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hague (2016-2017). He retired in 2017.
Prof CN van der Merwe (Vice-chair)
Chris van der Merwe is an Emeritus Professor of the University of Cape Town, where he taught Afrikaans and Dutch Literature for 34 years. He has also been a visiting lecturer at various universities abroad. He obtained his Doctorandus at the University of Utrecht. His doctoral dissertation deals with Die dramatiese element in die dramas van Hugo Claus (Rand Afrikaans University). He has written many academic articles and is author or co-author of sixteen books on literature, for example Die houtbeen van St Sergius. Opstelle oor Afrikaanse romans (2014). In 2019 Twyfelaars wat glo – ŉ Nederlands-Afrikaanse tweegesprek (with Hans Ester) was published. His latest research focuses on trauma and spirituality in literature. He received the South African Book Journalist of the Year award in 1994 for a series of radio programmes about South African literature. In 2009, the South African Academy for Science and Arts awarded him the Gustav Preller Prize for his contribution to South African literary criticism.
Prof WJ van Zyl (Chair)
Wium van Zyl is an Emeritus Professor of the University of the Western Cape, where he lectured from 1981 to 2013. He has also been a visiting professor at various universities abroad. He obtained his Doctorandus at Utrecht University and his DLitt at the Stellenbosch University, the latter on the work of the Dutch author WF Hermans. He has written many academic articles and books. He is a committee member of the Cape Forum for Dutch Studies and of the Friends of the Dutch Library in Pinelands. He was a founder member of the South African Society for General Literary Studies, as well as the Literary Support Committee. He also acted as editor of Tydskrif vir Nederlands en Afrikaans. In 2014 he received the Van Riebeeck Medal from the Nederlands-Zuid-Afrikaanse Vereniging in Amsterdam for his role in the cultural exchange between South Africa and the Netherlands. He is a translator, poet and writer of short stories.
Prof AG Visagie
Andries Visagie is professor of literature in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch at the Stellenbosch University (SU). He completed his studies at SU and the University of Utrecht. His research interests include gender and sexuality in Afrikaans and Dutch prose; autobiographical literature; and human-animal relationships in literature. His interest in poetry finds expression in his lecturing and in reviews. He has contributed to publications like Perspektief en profiel, Criticism, Crisis, and Contemporary Narrative and The Cambridge History of South African Literature. He is co-editor of the book Antjie Krog: An Ethics of Body and Otherness. Andries Visagie was chairman of the Afrikaans Literature Association and currently serves as review editor of the Tydskrif vir Letterkunde, as member of the Literary Commission of the South African Academy of Arts and Sciences and as board member of SASNEV in Pinelands.
Mr PE Westra
Piet Westra was born in Groningen in 1937 and settled in South Africa in 1953. He obtained his MBibl at the University of Pretoria. From 1981 to 1998 he served as Director of the South African Library in Cape Town. Since then he has been running a niche book publishing firm (Africana Publishers). He has been involved with the promotion of cultural ties between the Netherlands and South Africa since 1958. He was a board member of the Van Ewijck Foundation from 1982, and chairman of the board from 1984 to 2008. He also acted as chairman of the VOC Foundation and the Friends of the Dutch Library, Pinelands, for a number of years. He received the Van Riebeeck-medal of the Nederlands-Zuid-Afrikaanse Vereeniging (1998); the Dutch royal distinction of Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau (2008); and the Judge Albie Sachs Freedom Award for his opposition to censorship during apartheid (2010).