Respected and acclaimed Cape Town late poet Adam Small, 79.

Acclaimed Cape Town poet Adam Small has passed away.

The 79-year-old died on Friday following a complicated operation from which he did not recover.

Born in Wellington on December 21, 1936, he was raised on a farm in Robertson, where his father was the school principal, community leader and a preacher to farm labourers.

Small was honoured by the City of Cape Town in April 2011, and according to the citation in the city’s civic honours book, Small was treasured for his mostly Afrikaans works that highlighted the lives and oppression of the working class during apartheid.

The citation says: “Adam was exposed to the faith of the Dutch Reformed Church and Islam through paternal and maternal influences. This taught him cultural and religious tolerance.

“His family moved to Retreat on the Cape Flats where Adam discovered the Kaapse vernacular that characterised his writing.”

Adam’s first published collection of poetry was Verse van die Liefde (1957). In his collections Kitaar My Kruis (1961) and Sê Sjibbolet (1963) he criticises apartheid policies and racial discrimination.

Oos Wes Tuis Bes Distrik Ses (1973) is a book of poems that pays homage to the lives affected by the forced removal of the entire District Six community,” the citation says.

Mayor Patricia De Lille said Adam’s passing “will undoubtedly leave a great void in our country’s cultural and literary landscape”.

De Lille adds: “On behalf of the City of Cape Town, I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Adam Small.”