Therese Benadé was born in 1942 in Volksrust, South Africa. She went to school in Rustenburg and then to the University of Stellenbosch. In 1963 she was awarded a BA degreein English and French.
Therese is at present living in Ipswich, Massachusetts with her husband, Jim. She has had the good fortune to have lived and traveled in many different countries during her life. Previous homes include: South Africa, Rhodesia, England, Canada, Brazil, Pakistan and Indonesia.
Language has played a significant role in Therese’s life: she is bilingual, Afrikaans being her mother tongue. She is also a friendly conversationalist in Dutch, German, French and Portuguese, and gets along in Italian, Spanish, Urdu and Indonesian. Therese’s passion for languages has led her to teach children in Afrikaans and French as a Second Language. She has also taught deaf children, Orff Music for Children and piano. Until recently, she regularly ventured into the classroom as a substitute teacher.
Therese’s interests are rich and varied. She plays the piano and recorder and is an avid concert-goer. She likes to do counted cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery, crochet and knit, practise calligraphy and decorate Ukrainian Easter eggs. When there are mulberry leaves she raises silkworms. She also like collecting shells, fossils and beads. In November 2012 and again in July 2013 she showed her textiles at the Hall Haskell House in Ipswich, MA.
Writing is now her life’s focus. It has taken many years of speaking and reading before she had the confidence to use the English language as a creative tool. She calls her first two novels ‘exercise books’. She still thinks of the publication of Kites of Good Fortune as a great stroke of luck. Even greater was its translation into Afrikaans under the title Anna, Dogter van Angela van Bengale.
She is currently looking for a publisher for Bluestocking, another ‘roots’ novel, and The Layered Life of Tok-Tokkie, her current work in progress. In 2011 she presented a paper entitled ‘Layered Identities’ at the Summer Institute of the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples at York University (Toronto, Canada). A version of this presentation is on the Essays page.