Family tree of Ingrid JONKER


South AfricanBorn Ingrid JONKER

South African poet

Born on September 19, 1933 in Douglas, South Africa

Died on July 19, 1965 in Cape Town, South Africa

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Jonker was born on a farm in Douglas, Northern Cape. She was the daughter of Abraham Jonker and Beatrice Cilliers. Her parents separated before she was born, and Jonker’s mother moved back home with her two daughters. Jonker’s grandparents moved to a farm near Cape Town. Five years after the move, her grandfather died, leaving the four women destitute.

In 1943, Jonker’s mother died. Jonker and her older sister Anna were then sent to Wynberg Girls’ High School in Cape Town, where she began writing poetry for the school magazine. They later moved in with their father and his third wife and their children. The two sisters were treated as outsiders, which caused a permanent rift between Jonker and her father.


Jonker started writing poems when she was six years old and, by the age of sixteen, she had started a correspondence with D.J. Opperman, South African writer and poet, whose views influenced her work greatly.

Her first collection of Afrikaans poems, Na die somer (“After the summer”) was produced before she was thirteen. Although several publishers were interested in her work, she was advised to wait before going into print. Her first published book of poems, Ontvlugting (“Escape”), was eventually published in 1956.

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Geographical origins

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