Anelia Schutte

Anelia Schutte
Anelia Schutte
For the People: A small town’s struggle for freedom against apartheid
Anelia Schutte grew up in Knysna – a beautiful town on the coast of South Africa, centred around a picturesque lagoon and popular with tourists. But there was another side to Knysna that those tourists never saw. In the hills surrounding the town with its exclusively white population lay the townships and squatter camps where the coloured and black people were forced to live.

Most white children would never go to the other side of the hill, but Anelia did. Her earliest memories are of being the only white girl at a crèche for black children that her mother, Owéna, set up in the 1980s as a social worker serving the black community.

Thirty years on, Anelia, now living in London, yearns to find out more about her mother’s work, and to understand the political unrest that clouded South Africa at the time. She returns to Knysna to find the truth about the town she grew up in, from the stories and memories of the people who were there.

For the People is an exploration of apartheid South Africa through the eyes of Owéna – a white woman who worked tirelessly for the black people of Knysna and found herself swept up in their struggle. They called her Nobantu: ‘for the people’.
New York, NY, USA
Anelia has lived in Cape Town, Durban, London and New York, but she still calls Knysna home.

She has loved writing all her life: essays for school, poetry for fun, and eventually copywriting for a living. Her short story, The Unkindness of Ravens, was published in From Here to Here: Stories inspired by London’s Circle Line in 2005. Somewhere in a drawer she also has an unpublished children’s story about a bullied dung beetle.

By day, Anelia is a creative director at language consultancy The Writer. Now based in New York, she holds on to her South Africanness by making bobotie and rusks for her friends, drinking Stellenbosch wines, speaking Afrikaans to her fellow expats, and spending hours on the phone to her mother.
Writing memoirs and biographies
Interviewing techniques to get to the heart of a story
Apartheid South Africa
  • Anelia Schutte