Mod­ern African e-clas­sics

CityPress - - Opportunity index - CHARL BLIG­NAUT charl.blig­naut@city­ The late Phaswane Mpe The ti­tles are avail­able at kala­, ama­, kobo­ and my­

To cel­e­brate a decade of pub­lish­ing South African lit­er­a­ture, Pi­cador Africa is re­leas­ing more than a dozen gems as e-books.

Pity they’re only elec­tronic books, but good for Pi­cador for keep­ing alive the amaz­ing tal­ent so eas­ily over­looked by his­tory.

Among the of­fer­ings are two works by poet and writer Phaswane Mpe – his only novel, Wel­come to Our Hill­brow, and his col­lec­tion of short sto­ries, Brood­ing Clouds.

Mpe took his own life when he was start­ing to reach the height of his writ­ing pow­ers. Wel­come to Our Hill­brow is a fre­netic and dark con­tem­pla­tion of life, death and iden­tity in the city.

A young writer start­ing to make waves is Thando Mqolozana, whose Un­im­por­tance has re­cently been re­leased to crit­i­cal ac­claim. His de­but, A Man Who is Not a Man, is one of the newly avail­able Pi­cador e-books.

Made into an award-win­ning short film, Ib­hokhwe (The Goat), the work ex­plores sex­ual iden­tity and Xhosa ini­ti­a­tion.

There’s also Siphiwo Ma­hala’s When a Man Cries, Per­fect Hlong­wane’s Jozi, two works by mas­ter sto­ry­teller Gcina Mh­lope, a Mongane Wally Serote and an Njab­ulo Nde­bele.

More power to the legacy of our writ­ers.

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