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Erich Rautenbach passes away in Canada

Erich Rautenbach pictured in Cape Town. Image: Erich Rautenbach CTHS Scholarship.

Erich Rautenbach, author of the South African memoir The Unexploded Boer, died in Vancouver, Canada on April 18th due to an aggressive relapse of leukemia. He was 63 years old.

Erich was born June 16, 1954 in Swakopmund, Namibia and grew up in Cape Town, leaving South Africa as a fugitive at the age of 21 after escaping from police custody. After some months in Europe and the Middle East as an undocumented refugee, he arrived in Canada where he eventually settled, raising four sons with his wife Mary Ann McKenzie, and returning to South Africa and Namibia as much as possible. He was planning a permanent move back to his home country when his cancer returned.

The Unexploded Boer, described as “a wild story of rebellion and retribution”, was published in 2011 by Zebra Press/Random House. It vividly recreated the hippy/glam subculture of 1970s Cape Town and followed Erich as he tried anything to avoid conscription into the South Africa army, leading to incarceration in infamous prisons including John Voster Square and The Fort. It received strong critical acclaim.

In Erich’s honour, the family is planning to create an annual bursary to be given to a Cape Town High School student who shows promise as a writer. Funds are being raised in Canada and South Africa through a Go Fund Me campaign:

The Unexploded Boer

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