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Memorial Service for Es'kia Mphahlele at Windybrow Theatre

Nadine Gordimer Muxe Nkondo Mmatshilo Motsei, writer, healer and activist

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The first memorial service for Es’kia Mphahlele, who died two days ago, has been announced. As I noted in a comment last night, it’s to take place in Hillbrow at the Windybrow Theatre. Here’s more information:

Guest speakers will include Prof. Muxe Nkondo, author and activist Mmatshilo Motsei, Motsumi Makhene (who, as director of the Funda Centre in Soweto was very close to Mphahlele) and Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer. Raks Seakhoa of the wRite Associates is helping organise the event.

Everyone is welcome; no RSVP is necessary.

Event Details

  • Date: Friday, 31 October 2008
  • Time: 2:30 PM for 3:00 PM
  • Venue: Windybrow Theatre, Cnr Nugget & Pietersen Sts
    Hillbrow, Johannesburg | Map
  • Guest Speaker: Nadine Gordimer, Muxe Nkondo, Mmatshilo Motsei, Motsumi Makhene

Funeral services for Mphahlele have also been arranged: the funeral is to take place in his home of Lebowakgomo, Limpopo Province, on Saturday 1 November.

Here is the Minister of Arts and Culture, Dr Z Pallo Jordan’s official statement on Mphahlele’s passing:

Es’kia [Ezekiel] Mphahlele, doyen of African letters, passed away in Lebowakgomo, Limpopo, on the evening of 27 October 2008 at the ripe age of eighty-eight.

Mphahlele was the illustrious author of two autobiographies, more than thirty short stories, two verse plays and a fair number of poems.

Add to these, two anthologies edited, essay collections, innumerable single essays, addresses, awards and a Nobel Prize nomination for literature and what emerges is to many the Dean of African Letters, writes Peter Thuynsma, a leading Mphahlele scholar, in Perspectives on South African English Literature (1992: 221).

A self-made man, Mphahlele received a BA degree in 1949, followed in 1956 by a BA Honours degree and in 1957 by an MA degree (with distinction). He studied for his three degrees by correspondence with the University of South Africa. In 1968, he received his doctorate from the University of Denver in the United States of America.

Mphahlele was born in Marabastad, Pretoria, on 17 December 1919. His parents sent him to Maupaneng, near Polokwane, to go and live with his paternal grandmother. He came back to Marabastad to start school and received his high school education at St Peter’s College, Rossetenville. It was there that he encountered personalities whose lives would run a close parallel to his.

From St Peters Mphahlele went on to study at Adams College in Natal, where he qualified as a teacher in 1940. He completed his matric, studying by correspondence while he held down two jobs as a teacher and short-hand typist at Ezenzeleni Institute for the Blind in Roodepoort, in 1942.

Book Details

  • Es’kia: Es’kia Mphahlele on Education, African Humanism and Culture, Social Consciousness, Literary Appreciation by Es’kia Mphahlele
    EAN: 9780795701511
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

Pictures courtesy Victor Dlamini and Liesl Jobson


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