NWU academic rewarded with an ATKV Feather (Veertjie)
Prof Franci Greyling of the North-West University (NWU) can charm with words. She intertwines them with her imagination and creates a fantasy world where young and old love to meander. There are very few things that she enjoys more than giving other people’s words wings, and on 11 September she was rewarded with an ATKV Word Feather (Woordveertjie) for doing just that.
During the eighth presentation of the ATKV Word Feathers (Woordveertjies) at D'Aria in Durbanville she walked away with the award for promoting reading in Afrikaans for her website Storiewerf. The website, which has been active since 2000, was set up for the advancement of Afrikaans children’s and youth literature and the literary talent of young people.
This is a different kind of website, a unique http://wwworld. An orange-red earth with a pitch-black middle greets you. In this dark middle a sharp nose protrudes above an ominous mouth. At the top is a house with a roof that resembles a pixy’s hat; an almost leafless tree sheds its last few leaves, and at the bottom is a crooked, yellow half-moon. To the right of the picture you are invited: “Die wêreld is ÿ ronde bol, van binne is hy hol, en in die middel vol gevare, lê die Land van Wol en Hare” followed by: “Waag dit om binne te kom...” (dare to step inside …)
Welcome to Franci Greyling’s woordpaljas.
“It is a great privilege, as the Feather is a prestigious award,” said this brunette lecturer in creative writing at the North-West University’s Potchefstroom Campus.
“When I started the website, the internet was still in its bronze age. There was very little Afrikaans content on the internet, and almost nothing on children’s literature. I felt a great need to contribute to making people aware of Afrikaans children’s and youth literature and the fun of reading.”
A decade and a half later this is a creative web that is stretching further and further.“Fifteen years ago I could not have imagined that the website would still be here today. Thanks to the enthusiasm of everyone who contributed to the website, we are still here. Interestingly, LitNet, which was also a winner this year, is only a year older than Storiewerf.”
As a writer Greyling has published many youth books, a picture book, short stories, a radio drama and also artists’ books. This, together with her Feather, would have made her mentor smile broadly today.
“As a child I was an avid reader and one of the writers whose books I discovered and enjoyed tremendously, was Elsabe Steenberg. Her type of writing and what she wrote about were so fresh and so different. That was something I admired a lot. Later on I did my master’s degree under her guidance and that was a great privilege. She had a significant influence on my own writing.”
And, how does it feel to have a Feather in your display cabinet?
“There are many creative writing students who make a contribution to the website and find an opportunity for publication in that way. That makes me very proud.”
Visit Storiewerf at: www.storiewerf.co.za
Photo: Franci Greyling receives her ATKV Feather. With her is Sandra Prinsloo.