Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Arts and culture

Graphic Novels in South-Africa: the Work of Nathan Trantraal

  • Nathan Trantraal
Wednesday 13 March 2024
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
Room 0.28

Nathan Trantraal is one of the most versatile literary voices in South-Africa: he is the writer of poetry and graphic novels, a translator, illustrator, playwright, scenarist and columnist. He wrote three collections of poetry, four graphic novels and a collection of columns and essays. In March this year, his new graphic novel Die Man Wattie Kinnes Vang will be published. On 13 March, Trantraal will visit Leiden University to talk about his work.

Image: Nathan Trantraal


Nathan Trantraal grew up near Cape Town, in an area where poverty and gang violence are the order of the day; those themes are present in his many-sided oeuvre. Just like his partner, the poet and novelist Ronelda S. Kamfer, who visited Leiden University Libraries earlier this year, he is a trailblazer for a new generation of Afrikaans-speaking writers from neglected communities. He is also a pioneer when it comes to using Kaaps as a literary language.

For his debut collection Chokers en Survivors, Trantraal received the Ingrid Jonker Poetry Award, and last year he won the Philida Literary Award for his poetic oeuvre. Together with his brother Andre, he wrote multiple graphic novels and their comic strips appeared in various South-African newspapers. Trantraal works as a professor at Rhodes University, where he teaches about ­­Kaaps and graphic novels, among other topics.

Access is free, but registration is mandatory.



17.00 – 17.15 Room open
17.15 – 17.20 Introduction by Tommy van Avermaete
17.20 – 17.30 Performance Nathan Trantraal from his work
17.30 – 18.30 Conversation Yasco Horsman and Nathan Trantraal
18.30 – 18.40 Closing performance by Nathan Trantraal

Visit to Leiden

Trantraal is currently residing in the Netherlands for a few months. On 13 March he will visit Leiden University, where he will read from his work and have a conversation with Yasco Horsman, professor at the department of Film and Literary Studies. They will cover topics such as the poetic quality of graphic novels, the way in which themes like violence can be depicted in this medium, how illustrating poetry works, and Trantraal’s work as a poet and life in South-Africa.

This event is organized by Leiden University Libraries, together with de department of Dutch Language and Literature and Film and Literary Studies.

This website uses cookies.  More information.