Richard Rive

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Biographical information


South African author, writer for Drum magazine in the 1950s, literary critic and teacher

First name: 
Last name: 
Date of birth: 
1 March 1931
Location of birth: 
Cape Town, South Africa
Date of death: 
c. 4 June 1989
Location of death: 
Cape Town, South Africa

Richard Rive was born on 1 March 1931 in Cape Town, and grew up in District Six, which was a Coloured, or “mixed race”, area under apartheid.

With the aid of a scholarship, Rive attended high school in Cape Town and studied at the University of Cape Town (UCT), where he graduated in 1949.

Rive then trained as a teacher, and taught at Hewat Training College and at a high school in Cape Town.

In 1962, he travelled extensively throughout Africa and Europe, while teaching and lecturing.

Rive went on to obtain an MA from Columbia University in 1966 and a D.Phil on the works of Olive Schreiner from Magdalen College, Oxford in 1974.

Rive is known for his short stories, which were critically acclaimed for their “”¦great imaginative and technical power, [and]”¦ skillful [sic] use of leitmotifs, and realistic dialogue.”

Rive was murdered in Cape Town in 1989.

Published Works:

  • Quartet: New Voices from South Africa [a short story of Rive’s included] (1963)
  • African Songs (1963)
  • Modern African Prose (1964) [an anthology edited by Rive]
  • Emergency (1964)
  • Selected Writings (1977)
  • Writing Black: An Author’s Notebook (1981)
  • Buckingham Palace: District Six (1986)

• Richard Rive (2009) [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 July 2009]

Last updated : 17-Nov-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 17-Feb-2011