Born in Pearston, South Africa, he was an openly gay academic famous for his poems on sport. In 1948 he received a silver medal in the Olympic Games' International Poetry Competition for ``Ses gedigte`` / ``Six poems``.He held the degrees of M.A.(Stellenbosch) D.Litt. et Phil.(Ghent),Hon.D.Litt.(R.U.),Hon D.Litt.(Wits).He was an Emeritus Professor of Afrikaans and Nederlands at Wits.He also lectured at Stellenbosch from 1943 to 1959.His hobby was the collection of South African works of art.He was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Hofmeyr prize for poetry in 1975.