Acclaimed South African author, Elsa Joubert, has died from the Novel Coronavirus. She passed on at a Cape Town hospital on Sunday, June 14.

The multiple award-winning writer was 97-years-old. It was reported that she died as a result of complications related to COVID-19. Her son Nico Steytler confirmed to News24 that she died at Mediclinic Cape Town, on account of COVID-19.

Joubert was unable to see her family in her final days, due to lockdown restrictions, according to SABC News.

She was born in Paarl in 1922 and attended both the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University. She is also a former editor of the popular magazine, Huisgenoot.

An avid traveller of the continent, Joubert penned several novels inspired by Africa. Her most well-known work, Die Swerfjare van Poppie Nongena (The long Journey of Poppy Nongena) was published in 1979. It told the story of the life of a black woman under the brutal and unjust laws of the Apartheid system. The book was translated into 13 different languages and has recently been adapted into a film.

NB publishers expressed their shock and sadness at the news of Joubert’s passing.

“Elsa Joubert was a pioneer, she was ahead of her time. She successfully reached her own people with her political message – something that evaded other Afrikaans writers. Apart from the cultural and political dimensions of her work it also carried a powerful human element,” said Eloise Wessels, head of NB Publishers.

Ettienne Bloemhof, a publisher at the company said Joubert had an open spirit, a staggering intellect, and was very humble. “There are truly not enough words to pay tribute to her legacy,” he said.

She was married to late Klaas Steytler, who was a journalist and writer, and is survived by two daughters and a son.

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In memoriam: Elsa Joubert (19 Oktober 1922 – 14 Junie 2020) Tafelberg en @nbpublishers verneem met groot hartseer en leedwese van die afsterwe van geliefde skrywer Elsa Joubert (97). Eloise Wessels (Uitvoerende Hoof van NB-Uitgewers): Elsa Joubert was ’n pionier, sy was haar tyd vooruit. Sy het haar politieke boodskap suksesvol aan haar eie mense oorgedra – iets wat ander Afrikaanse skrywers ontwyk het. Afgesien van die kulturele en politieke dimensies van haar oeuvre is haar werk altyd gekenmerk deur ’n kragtige menslike element; in haar eie woorde: Die verste reis is van mens tot mens, deur die hart. Etienne Bloemhof (Uitgewer): In die ruk wat ek die voorreg gehad het om, saam met Solette Swanepoel van Tafelberg, die publikasie van Spertyd mee te maak, het ek diep onder die indruk gekom van Elsa se ruimheid van gees, haar verbysterende intellek en, ja, haar groot nederigheid. In verstommende detail kon sy die een oomblik praat oor gebeure van 80, 90 jaar gelede, en dan weer weer oor aktuele sake van die dag . . . Die gawe van breëd én stip kyk, dit was hare. Om werklik aan haar nalatenskap reg te laat geskied, daarvoor ontbreek die woorde helaas. #ElsaJoubert #RIVElsaJoubert #Afrikaans

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Picture: Instagram / nbpublishers

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