Gladys Thomas born was in 1935 in Salt River, Cape Town. She was adopted by a family in Lakeside, Cape Town in Western Cape as she was an orphan. She grew up in Lakeside, Cape Town, Western Cape with her foster parents until she was a teenager. Being a female was not easy for Thomas because it meant she would encounter a lot of challenges like being denied an opportunity for further education as a consequence of being a female. Her foster parents sent her to look for work and she got employment at a factory specialising in sweet making. Even at her workplace, Thomas shares how the White supervisor selected a different young girl daily to spend time with him. it was hard for Thomas because she experienced sexual exploitation from her superior.
At the age of 18, She married Albert Thomas and in 1965 they moved to Simons’s town, an area that was declared a ‘Whites Only’ area under the Group Areas Act. The Thomas family was evicted later by the Group Areas Act. Thomas wrote her first poem when her family was evicted from Simon's Town. The experience of being removed from her house by force is another factor that influenced her decision of writing simply because her family’s eviction was a traumatic and hurtful experience.
Moreover, personal oppression and ordeal led Gladys Thomas to start writing. Thomas’s interest in being a writer was influenced by her hardships and past painful experiences. In 1971 Thomas’s poem “Fall Tomorrow” was published jointly with Mathews’s poetry in “Cry Rage”. “Cry Rage” was the first book of poetry to be banned in South Africa. She has written six plays, four of which were staged in the townships of the Cape Flats, Cape Town. Three of the one-act plays won first prize in “The World” newspaper literary competition, just before it was banned in 1977. She also wrote a full-length play titled “Avalon Court” which won first prize in 1990 for the African Literature Awards, a major annual literary competition.
Thomas also wrote several children’s books that spoke to the experiences of children during apartheid. She is also the author of “Children of Crossroads”, and “Spotty Dog and Other Township Stories”. The South African Government, in recognition of her outstanding achievements as a writer, conferred the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for her work. Thomas was elected patron of the Congress of South African Writers (COSAW) in 1992. She was also a member of the United Women's Congress (UWCO) and the Federation of South African Women (FEDSAW). The award-winning poet, playwright and short-story writer died in April 2022 and was buried in Cape Town, Western Cape.
 Bradfield, Shelley-Jean. An Analysis of the Theme of Oppression in Six Narratives by South African Women Writers 1925-1989. University of Johannesburg (South Africa), 2012., p.85.
 Bruner, Charlotte H. "" There Is No Time in South Africa Now for Fairy Stories": Three Women Authors from the IWP." World Literature Today 61, no. 3 (1987): 410-414., p. 410.
 Bradfield, An Analysis of the Theme of Oppression in Six Narratives by South African Women Writers., p.84
- Bradfield, Shelley-Jean. An Analysis of the Theme of Oppression in Six Narratives by South African Women Writers 1925-1989. University of Johannesburg (South Africa), 2012.
- Bruner, Charlotte H. "There Is No Time in South Africa Now for Fairy Stories": Three Women Authors from the IWP." World Literature Today 61, no. 3 (1987): 410-414