Diane Case was born in Woodstock, Cape Town in 1955, the daughter of an Indian father and mixed race mother of slave ancestry. The family later moved to Wittebome in Wynberg where Diane attended Battswood primary school and Immaculata High School. A quiet and sensitive child who felt the pain of others very deeply, Diane found a channel for these feelings through writing. Not surprisingly, as a student Diane excelled at creative writing and language. [i]
In 1981 as a young mother, Diane penned her first the novel Albatross Winter, a story about the life of a young child from a disadvantaged community in the Cape Flats. [ii]This novel won the Maskew Miller Young Africa Literary award in that year and was to be the start of a journey as a full-time writer capturing childhood in the dismal underbelly of the Western Cape where life is cheap and childhoods are stifled by poverty and desperation. Case’s grasp of the social ills caused by Apartheid and its intergenerational consequences runs as a common thread in all her novels and she does not shy away from dealing with issues that are hard-hitting, but real for many impoverished communities.[iii] This is nowhere more evident than in her last literary offering ‘The Rules’, which deals with the lives of two young people from Manenberg in the Cape Flats. The book touches on the challenges faced by youth in Cape Town townships, most notably the abuse of Tik Methamphetamine, a drug that is slowly sucking out the life of many of Cape Town’s disadvantaged youth.
Diane is notable, not only as a children’s author who has touched the lives of street children and highlighted the plight of Cape Town’s disaffected youth, but also as a community worker. She has also run creative writing workshops for female prisoners at Pollsmoor prison[iv] in the past and currently spends a good deal of her time giving workshops and motivational talks at schools.
Diane is kind to a fault and is a lifeline to many in her community who have fallen on hard times. In addition to this, Diane has raised three daughters who are all strong young women, one of them being Maxine Case, herself an accomplished author, a chip off the old block![v] Certainly, Diane Case’s contribution to South African literature has been outstanding. Described as a ‘master storyteller’,[vi] Diane she has won multiple awards for writing, including the Percy Fitzpatrick prize of the English Academy of Southern Africa.[vii]
[i] Personal input from a family member 26.09.2016. ↵
[ii] Sunday Times ‘Books Live’, Winners of the 2015 Maskew Miller Longman Literature Awards, 26 November, 2015. Url number http://bookslive.co.za/blog/2015/11/26/winners-of-the-2015-maskew-miller-longman-literature-awards/(Date accessed 28.09.2016). ↵
[iii] Elwyn Jenkins, ‘Sharing our Stories’, The Cape Librarian, p. 13, September / October 2004, url number https://www.westerncape.gov.za/text/2005/2/sep04_article2pg12_15.pdf, (date accessed 28.06.2016). ↵
[vi] The Book Lounge launch of ‘The Rules’ by Diane Case, 22 June 2016, url number http://www.booklounge.co.za/2016/06/22/launch-of-the-rules-by-dianne-case/ (Date accessed 26.09.2016). ↵
[vii] Jenkins, ‘Sharing our Stories’, p.13. ↵