Tatamkhulu Afrika was born in Egypt in 1920 of an Arab father and a Turkish mother. He was brought to South Africa in 1923, orphaned, and raised by Christian foster parents. He served in World War II in the North African Campaign, and was a POW for three years in Italy and Germany. At the age of seventeen he published a novel in Great Britain entitled Broken Earth, but did not write again for fifty years. Bitter Eden was first published when he was eighty years old. He died in December 2002.