Trienke Laurie was a distinguished South African poet who made a mark on the literary world with her evocative verses. Born as Catherine Elizabeth Laurie on May 10, 1946, in Cape Town, South Africa, she was destined to follow in the footsteps of her esteemed parents in the world of literature.

Trienke Laurie was the eldest of three daughters born to her famous poet father, D.J. Opperman, and her mother, Marié van Reenen, a renowned writer known for her Zulu fairy tales. Her sisters, Heila Marié and Diederi Joanne, shared in her literary heritage.

Trienke’s mother, finding the name Catherine too English, affectionately called her Trienke, which eventually became her first name. She embarked on her educational journey at Hoërskool Jan van Riebeeck in Cape Town and graduated from Bloemhof High School in Stellenbosch in 1963. Her pursuit of knowledge continued as she enrolled at Stellenbosch University in 1964, where she studied Art Methodology and earned a B.A. degree. Additionally, she obtained an Education Diploma, which qualified her to teach Afrikaans, History, and Art at the high school level. During this period, she became an integral part of her father’s renowned Literary Laboratory.

After a year of teaching in Vredendal, Trienke exchanged vows with the mathematician Dirk Laurie on December 21, 1968. Their union was blessed with five sons: Henri, Diederik, Dirk Pieter, Van Reenen, and Kestell. Trienke, now a homemaker, not only raised her children but also continued to engage in her artistic pursuits, including painting, teaching art classes, and crafting children’s poetry.

The Laurie family lived in Pretoria for fifteen years before relocating to Vanderbijlpark when Dirk Laurie assumed the role of a mathematics professor at the Vaal Triangle campus of Potchefstroom University. Here, they spent another seventeen years. As her children grew, Trienke decided to pursue higher education once more. In 1990, she resumed her studies, ultimately earning an Honors degree in Afrikaans and Dutch with honors in 1991 from Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education.

Trienke Laurie was not only known for her poetic prowess but also for her talents as a painter. She held several successful exhibitions of her artwork throughout her career. Following their retirement, she and her husband, Dirk, settled in Somerset West.

In 2019, Trienke Laurie faced the loss of her beloved husband, Dirk. Tragically, on Monday, October 2, 2023, at the age of 77, South Africa and the literary world mourned the passing of a gifted poet. Her legacy endures through her contributions to poetry and her impact on those who were fortunate enough to read her verses.

Selected Publications:

  • 1997: Skietspoel
  • 1999: Ek sien ‘n rooi bul storm
  • 2001: Uitroep
  • 2007: Sonskyf
  • 2010: Van my ouma ‘n groet (Children’s verses with illustrations)
  • 2017: Koebesie (European travel verses with illustrations)