Fiela's Child Background

Fiela's Child Background

Dalene Matthee is a South African novelist born on October 13, 1938 in Riversdale, Western Cape. As a child, she was always an avid reader, signalling her future career as a successful author. After graduating from Langenhoven High School, she pursued music at a local conservatory and wrote prose during her free time. Her foray into the literary scene began with the publication of her first book, The Twelve-O'Clock Stick, in 1970.

In 1985, Matthee released a novel entitled Fiela’s Child, which tells the story of Fiela, a black woman in 19th century South Africa who finds a white baby at her doorstep. She takes him in as one of her own and names him Benjamin, but when he is a teenager, his original family reclaims him. Benjamin’s transition from family-to-family will highlight the unconditional love of Fiela and emphasize what it truly means to be a mother.

Upon its publication, Fiela’s Child garnered rave reviews from audiences and critics for its heartwarming portrayal of a boy torn between two worlds. It was ultimately adapted into a film of the same name in 1988, directed by Katinka Heyns and starring Shaleen Surtie-Richards, André Rossouw, and Lida Botha. Matthee's illustrious writing career was unfortunately cut short when she died on February 20, 2005 at age 66.

Update this section!

You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section.

Update this section

After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.