Fools and Other Stories

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Readers International, 1986 - Blacks - 280 pages
These stories from the closing days of apartheid rule in South Africa won the Noma Award, Africa's highest literary award, and announced Njabulo Ndebele as an assured and impressive literary voice. He has gone on to become one of the most powerful voices for cultural freedom on the whole of the African continent today. Ndebele evokes township life with humor and subtlety, rejecting the image of black South Africans as victims and focusing on the complexity and fierce energy of their lives. "Our literature," says Ndebele, "ought to seek to move away from an easy preoccupation with demonstrating the obvious existence of oppression. It exists. The task is to explore how and why people can survive under such harsh conditions." About Njabulo Ndebele: now Chancellor of Witwatersrand University in South Africa. Ndebele began publishing these stories from exile in Lesotho during the 1980s. Ndebele is now recognised as a major voice in South Africa's cultural life. This is his only fiction collection available in Europe or North America. Ndebele's stories first began appearing in Staffrider magazine, an innovative publishing venture linked to the Soweto branch of South African PEN. Founded after the bloody Soweto riots of the mid-1970s, the magazine took as its symbol the staffriders, un-ticketed commuters from the black townships who every day clung onto or balanced on top of buses and trains to get into the cities to work. Staffrider magazine, and in particular Ndebele's stories, helped define a new tone in black South African literature that went beyond and finally overcame apartheid.

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Fools and other stories

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The five stories in this fine first collection are set in the black South African township of Charterston, where the author himself grew up. Without sentimentality or redundant stridency, they depict ... Read full review


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