In this journey, someone will get lost, someone will give up and turn back, and someone may go all the way to the end. All these people will try to tell you the story of what happened. Abram, a South African winemaker who might be English or Dutch (depending on whomever happens to be listening to his troubles) will tell you that things went wrong when his wife stopped loving him, when his children couldn’t be citizens of their country of birth, and his country tried to put him in prison and steal his vote and estate.
In this daring novel, the author gives a startling account of the inner workings of contemporary South African urban culture. In doing so, he ventures into unexplored areas and takes local writing in English to places it hasn't been before. The Quiet Violence of Dreams is set in Cape Town's cosmopolitan neighbourhoods - Observatory, Mowbray and Sea Point - where subcultures thrive and alternative lifestyles are tolerated. The plot revolves around Tshepo, a student at Rhodes, who gets confined to a Cape Town mental institution after an episode of 'cannabis-induced psychosis'.
The Broken River Tent is a novel that marries imagination with history. It is about the life and times of Maqoma, the Xhosa chief who was at the forefront of fighting British colonialism in the Eastern Cape during the nineteenth century. The story is told through the eyes of a young South African, Phila, who suffers from what he calls triple ‘N’ condition—neurasthenia, narcolepsy and cultural ne plus ultra. This makes him feel far removed from events happening around him but gives him access to the analeptic memory of his people.
Karabo, a light-skinned girl living in Mthatha, grew up with the hurtful cry of ‘yellowbone’ ringing in her ears. She hears her parents argue, not realising that questions surrounding her paternity are the cause. To Karabo, there can be no greater bond than the one between her and ‘Teacher’, as her father is called.
Young Naledi wants to trade her bantu knots for Nonhle Thema’s hair on the Dark and Lovely box. She wishes she looked more like her light-skinned mother too. Ledi grows up in Pimville with her strict grandmother Mama Norah, while her mother, Dineo, is out chasing the blesser lifestyle. Bantu Knots follows Ledi as she navigates the pressures of her circumstances, womanhood and beauty ideals – and pursues her dreams in spite of it all.
"I imagined a dying person’s last breath as something resembling an exclamation mark, distinct and hanging mid-air like an interrupted thought. My older sister Fikile’s last breath before she dies is nothing of the sort. There is no rattling noise at the back of her throat. No relentless twitching. No clinging to life.
Ruru’s father, Phaks, joined the anti-apartheid struggle in exile before she was born but never returned, preferring to stay in Tanzania. Years later, though he has passed away, Ruru goes in search of signs of his life in his adopted country. She finds it in his widow and his ‘pillow books’ – journals he kept, coming to terms with his mortality. Struck by the parallels with her teenage letters to her late mother, she reads to find answers to her questions: Who was he? Why did he not return?
Achen and Nyakale: twin sisters, separated from childhood to inherit different destinies. In the hope of inheriting a better life, a mother makes the heart-wrenching decision to send one child, Nyakale, to South Africa to be raised by her well-off sister, the child’s aunt, who has no children of her own. The other child, Achen, stays in Uganda to be raised by their mother in a village.
A thrilling array of African writers, including Fred Khumalo, Sibongile Fisher, Lucas Ledwaba, Vonani Bila, Lynn Joffe and Christopher Mlalazi, tell surprising and unnerving tales in this collection of commissioned stories from the master of narrative writing, Niq Mhlongo. These stories give answers to the question: what does being haunted and hauntings mean in our southern African world, in the past, the present and the future?
Ebinimi, star mechanic of Kalakala Street, is a man with a hapless knack for getting in and out of trouble. Some of his troubles are self-inflicted: like his recurring entanglements in love triangles; and his unauthorised joyriding of a customer’s car which sets off a chain of dire events involving drugs, crooked politicians, and assassins. Other troubles are caused by the panorama of characters in his life, like: his sister and her dysfunctional domestic situation; the three other mechanics he employs; and the money-loving preacher who has all but taken over his home.