1999 • Arts and Literature Award

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Amelia started her working life as a teacher in Cape Town but in order to improve her qualifications she studied for a BA degree in English and History.  For political reasons, Amelia left the country of her birth in 1963 to pursue further opportunities, which ultimately led to a change in career in London, England.

It was here that Amelia was fortunate to be granted a place to study acting at the famed Guildhall School of Music and Drama.  Amelia, however, never left teaching far behind and she juggled three careers – acting, modeling and teaching. 

She also found time to compose poetry which she performed with the jazz group “The Blue Notes” in London, Paris and Oslo.  Her drama training resulted in several roles on stage, radio and television in the United Kingdom as well as theatre roles in the United States. 

This multi-talented lady relocated to the United States in 1972 and here she continued teaching, studying and performing. She also continued to write poetry and her performances of these works included musical and/or dance accompaniment, thrilling audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Her ever-expanding, and increasingly well-known performances have led to her being invited to present papers, join panel discussions and stage her dramatic works.  Such has been her success that her writings have been translated into numerous languages including seven African languages, and even Arabic. 

Not only has her poetry been widely published, but also her short stories, dramatic works, critical essays and reviews – many of these have been published in Africa, Europe, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. 

Her work has been recognized with several awards including the Kwanzaa Honors List, Woman of the Year, the Louisville Board of Alderman Literary Award, inauguration in the Pan African Writers Association and a research grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women.

This grant was given in order for Amelia to further research and study women in South African slavery. 

Whilst based in Kentucky, Amelia became closely involved in the African American Cultural Centre and actively raised funds on their behalf.  Her first hand experience of the struggle and pain endured by many in South Africa has been transferred to addressing the issues of social inequity in North America.  Amelia uses her considerable writing skills to raise awareness of these issues and educate people who may not be aware of the situation in their own countries. 

If you asked Amelia what her profession was she would be hard pressed to describe it in a single word.  Primarily she is a teacher/writer/poet and performer and the combination of these talents allow her to reach a broad audience using a variety of talents.