Herman Charles Bosman

Herman Charles Bosman (1905–1951), a household name in South Africa, was born near Cape Town but lived most of his life in the Transvaal. He spent the first six months of 1926 as a teacher at a farm school in the Marico District of what was then the Western Transvaal. His term was cut short when, on a vacation back at his family home in Johannesburg, he shot and killed his step-brother. He spent four years on death row in Pretoria Central Prison before his sentence was commuted. Upon his release in 1930, he took up a career as a journalist and began his celebrated Oom Schalk stories, which culminated in the publication of Mafeking Road in 1947. His first novel, Jacaranda in the Night, appeared the same year while his prison memoir, Cold Stone Jug, was published two years later. Bosman died of heart failure in October 1951. He has come to be widely considered South Africa’s greatest short story writer.

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