PETER Henry Abrahams, the South African journalist and author who made Jamaica his home in the 1950’s, was found dead at his Rock Hall, St Andrew, home yesterday.
Abrahams, who is better known for his hard-hitting commentaries on Radio Jamaica, was 97.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Abrahams, born March 19, 1919 near Johannesburg, was the most prolific of South Africa’s black prose writers, whose early novel Mine Boy (1946) was the first to depict the dehumanizing effect of racism upon South African blacks.
The publication said Abrahams left South Africa at the age of 20, settling first in Britain and then in Jamaica; nevertheless, most of his novels and short stories are based on his early life in South Africa.
“Mine Boy, for example, tells of a country youth thrown into the alien and oppressive culture of a large South African industrial city,” said the publication.
“In the late 1950’s, inspired by a visit to Jamaica, Abrahams moved his family to the island. There he became editor of the West Indian Economist and took charge of the daily radio news network, West Indian News, until 1964, when he gave up most of his duties so that he could devote himself full-time to writing. Many of his earlier works were reissued or translated into other languages in the 1960s and early 1970s, as his reading public steadily widened,” states the Encyclopedia Britannica.