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Redi Tlhabi Wins the 2013 Alan Paton Award for Endings and Beginnings

Endings and BeginningsRedi Tlhabi was announced as the winner of the 2013 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award at a gala event this evening in Johannesburg. She wins the R75 000 prize for her book Endings and Beginnings, published by Jacana Media.

The award is given for a work of non-fiction that promotes “the illumination of truthfulness, especially those forms of it which are new, delicate, unfashionable and fly in the face of power; compassion; elegance of writing; and intellectual and moral integrity.”

Tlhabi beat books by Herman Giliomee, Jacques Pauw, Xolela Mangcu and Julian Rademeyer to take the prize. Click here for the complete 2013 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award shortlist. Karen Jayes won the 2013 edition of the Fiction Prize. Last year’s winners were Michiel Heyns for fiction and Hugh Lewin for non-fiction.

Redi Tlhabi

Endings and Beginnings is Tlhabi’s first book. Here’s the blurb:

“Mabegzo’s place in my life is an uncomfortable space. The hypocrisy of my feelings for him has mauled my emotions for many years. I would think of him and my heart would swell with warmth, longing and regret and, immediately, disgust at myself for feeling this way. This would be followed by making excuses for myself: I was a little girl, I did not know, I was mourning my father and perhaps responded to the first male who showed me any kindness and warmth.”

When Redi Tlhabi is eleven years old, two years after her father’s death, she meets the handsome, charming and smooth, Mabegzo. A rumoured gangster, murderer and rapist, he is a veritable ‘jack-roller’ of the neighbourhood. Against her family’s wishes, she develops a strong connection to him. Redi herself doesn’t understand why she is drawn to Mabegzo and why, at eleven, she feels a brokenness that only Mabegzo can fix.

Endings & Beginnings is Redi’s emotional journey back into her past to finally humanise this man whose hollowness mirrored her own and who was hated and abhorred by so many when he was alive. Through interviews and deep emotional conversations with his family, friends and those who knew him, Redi finally gets to fit together the pieces of the puzzle that was Mabegzo. Her revelations do not in any way excuse who and what he was, but they go a long way in shedding light on the scourge that is violence in our societies and why young black men are consumed by anger.

Congratulations to Tlhabi!

Book details

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