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Rob Gaylard Reviews African Delights by Siphiwo Mahala

African DelightsVerdict: critical carrot

Siphiwo Mahala’s African Delights (published by Jacana in 2011) and Russell Kaschula’s Displaced (Unisa 2013) were recently launched together at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. Both authors are from or are based in Grahamstown.
Mahala writes with a welcome awareness of the rich tradition of black writing in this country, and intertextual play is a prominent feature of this collection of short stories. The most obvious precursor is Can Themba, the “poet laureate” of Sophiatown: his acclaimed short story, The Suit, provides the springboard for the first three stories in the collection. The narrator of the first, Terence, is the man who was discovered in flagrante in bed with Matilda by her husband, Philimon (acting on a tip-off).

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