What is the root of the violence pointed toward foreigners in South Africa?
Before the most recent surge of violence, Theresa Mallinson from The Daily Vox asked four authors who attended the annual Time of the Writer festival – Thando Mgqolozana, Futhi Ntshingila, Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho and Dilman Dila – this poignant and relevant question.
“It’s mad, it’s crazy – it makes absolutely no sense to me,” Mgqolozana says. Ntshingila also does not understand the phenomenon: “It’s something that makes me very unhappy and ashamed.”
Mukwevho believes “the xenophobic attacks are caused by a lack of opportunities, such as work – mainly work, in fact – in South Africa” and explains why he believes this is the case.
Dila, who is from Uganda, makes a very valid point: “There is a feeling in Africa that we contributed to the freedom in South Africa. If you have a good economy and someone can come here to make a good living, why do you stop them?”
Read the article:
Thando Mgqolozana, writer, Cape Town
It comes from a systematic erosion of self-confidence of black people. So they don’t see themselves the same as Zimbabweans, Malawians, Ethiopians, Mozambicans and so on. Before colonial and apartheid times, they descended from there – they come from these people. That interruption with those colonising parties led to a change of perception and understanding of who they are. It really has to do with mental understanding – if they understood those people to be of their own neighbours, they wouldn’t do that [xenophobic attacks]; they would be in solidarity. It’s mad, it’s crazy – it makes absolutely no sense to me.
Granta has shared the first excerpt from Ivan Vladislavić’s much anticipated new short story collection, 101 Detectives.
The excerpt is the fourth story in the collection, titled “Exit Strategy”, about a corporate storyteller who is anything but content:
The corporate storyteller is having a bad day. She’s spent the morning in her office on the 11th floor peering at the monitor, occasionally typing a line and deleting it, or standing at the window, back turned on the recitation pod, looking down into the square. She doesn’t like the view and so the force with which it draws her to the window is all the more irritating. The square is a paved rectangle, to be precise, enclosed in a shopping mall and surrounded by restaurant terraces. She sees an arrangement of rooftops suggesting office parks, housing complexes and parking garages, and streets nearly devoid of life. No one walks around here if they can help it.
While she’s been musing, the monitor has gone to sleep. In its inky depths she sees the outline of her head, a darker blot with a spiky crown. Not yet thirty, she thinks grimly, and already as gnarled as an old vine. She badly needs a story for the quarterly meeting of the board, a parable to open proceedings and set the tone. Just a week after that it’s the annual Green Day, which demands fresh and leafy input. Which aquifer will she draw it from?
She scoots her chair aside to face the white slab of the desktop. This paperless expanse, a mockery of a blank page, usually makes her long for clutter, for a glass paperweight with a daisy inside it and a tangle of paper clips, but today it’s as refreshing to her eye as a block of ice. She rests her forearms on the desk, palms flat and fingers splayed, and then she sinks down in submission until her forehead touches the cool veneer.
Suzette Kotzé-Myburgh het onlangs ‘n indiepte onderhoud met E Kotze gevoer oor die stories in haar boek, Diepsee – kortverhale, waarvan Kotzé-Myburgh die samesteller is.
Kotze gesels oor haar grootwordjare, haar pa wat by die kreeffabriek gewerk het, hoe die mense wat haar geken het op haar skryfwerk gereageer het en hoe die natuur en die seestrome haar stories lewe gegee het.
Die skrywer vertel ook oor haar man en inspirasie, Willie – die “legendariese lang skipper” wat ‘n manier gehad het om ‘n ding te beskryf en altyd gesê het: “As jy oor die see skryf moet jy nie nonsens skryf nie.”
Luister na die potgooi:
Alert! A short story by Nick Mulgrew has been shortlisted for the annual White Review Short Story Prize. The story, entitled “Posman”, goes on the compete against seven others for the £2,500 prize.
Mulgrew is a British-South African writer and Mandela Rhodes Scholar. He won the second Short.Sharp.Stories Award in 2014, and his was story included in the resulting anthology, Adults Only: Stories of love, lust, sex and sexuality. He was also longlisted for the 2014 Short Story Day Africa Award and included in Terra Incognita, the anthology published with the top stories from this annual competition.
Mulgrew is the associate editor of Prufrock Magazine and a published poet, with one of his poems being included in the The Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Anthology Vol IV.
As this week’s Fiction Friday, read “Posman” – a story about a postman who knows his route so well he barely has to think anymore:
After a while you memorise the steps. You read the addresses and your calves just know, hey. They just know it’s going to be a long morning.
These holiday homes on the steps don’t get a lot of mail. The German okes who buy them park in Frankfurt all year and only fly in when winter hits. Maar dis altyd mooi in die Kaap, né? Who even buys a house they don’t live in? And houses like these, too. Most okes don’t see them, so they don’t even know what they’re like. But let me tell you what: if I had one of these, on the beach, jir’, I wouldn’t leave.
But, ja, anyway – most of these places don’t get a lot of mail. Some municipal stuff, some late Christmas cards that’ll sit in their boxes until next December. Sometimes I get these double – sealed envelopes met logos van strange banks al oor geskryf. Most of these okes dodge tax, hey.They have to. No one has that much money.
Umuzi is proud to present 101 Detectives, a collection of short stories from award-winning author Ivan Vladislavić:
A private-eye convention and a tussle over a Pierneef. A young man’s unsettling experience in the American South and a tragedy off the coast of Mauritius. A bizarre night of industrial theatre and a translator at a loss for words.
These are but a few of the fictions in 101 Detectives, a new collection of short stories by Vladislavić, one of South Africa’s most celebrated authors.
A collection of short stories launched his career as a writer. 26 years and a whole oeuvre later, 101 Detectives showcases Vladislavić’s virtuosity as he bends and recasts this literary form in spectacular fashion.
About the author
Ivan Vladislavić is a novelist, essayist and editor. He lives in Johannesburg where he is a Distinguished Professor in Creative Writing at the University of the Witwatersrand.
His books include The Folly, The Restless Supermarket, Portrait with Keys and Double Negative. Among his recent publications are Flashback Hotel, a compendium of early stories, and The Loss Library, a reflection on writing.
He has edited volumes on architecture and art. His work has won several prizes, including the University of Johannesburg Prize, the Sunday Times Fiction Prize and the Alan Paton Award for non-fiction. In 2015, he was awarded Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Prize for fiction.
12 writers are currently hard at work in this year’s Caine Prize for African Writing workshops, taking place in at the Coconut Grove Hotel in Elmina, Ghana.
This year’s participants include 2014 shortlistees Diane Awerbuck (South Africa) and Efemia Chela (Zambia/Ghana), 2013 shortlistee Onipede Hollist (Sierra Leona), and nine other promising writers: Dalle Abraham (Kenya), Nkiacha Atemnkeng (Cameroon), Akwaeke Emezi (Nigeria), Timothy Kiprop Kimutai (Kenya), Jonathan Mbuna (Malawi), Jonathan Dotse, Jemila Abdulai, Aisha Nelson and Nana Nyarko Boateng (all Ghana).
From 6 to 18 April the writers gather to write, read and discuss work in progress, under the guidance of Sudanese author Leila Aboulela, the winner of the inaugural Caine Prize in 1999, and South African journalist and novelist Zukiswa Wanner.
The short stories produced by the writers during the workshop will be included in the 2015 Caine Prize anthology, to be published by New Internationalist on 1 July 2015, while nine co-publishers in Africa will receive a free print-ready PDF. The stories will also automatically be entered for next year’s Caine Prize.
Lizzy Attree, director of the Caine Prize, says: “The success of the co-publishing arrangement with Sub-Saharan Publishers in Ghana, which has sold over 25,000 copies of Caine Prize anthologies in the last 18 months, suggests there is a great appetite for literature in Ghana, and yet there have been no Ghanaian Caine Prize winners to date.
“We hope that holding the first workshop in Ghana since 2009 will encourage entries from Ghanaian writers and strengthen local literary networks.”
Prudential plc and Groupe Nduom support the Caine Prize in Ghana
Prudential plc, one of the world’s leading financial services groups, and Groupe Nduom, a family business group of Ghanaian and American origin operating in the financial, hospitality, media and other industries, are the primary supporters of this year’s Caine Prize for African Writing workshop taking place in Ghana this month. The Caine Prize, known as Africa’s leading literary award, has held twelve workshops in Africa since 2003.
Twelve writers from eight African countries will convene at the Coconut Grove Hotel in Elmina for thirteen days (6 April – 18 April) to write, read and discuss work in progress and to learn from two experienced writers, Leila Aboulela, who is a Sudanese author and winner of the inaugural Caine Prize in 1999, and Zukiswa Wanner, a South African novelist and journalist. Both will act as tutors and animateurs.
This year’s participants include Diane Awerbuck (South Africa) and Efemia Chela (Zambia/Ghana) who were shortlisted for the 2014 prize, Onipede Hollist (Sierra Leona) who was shortlisted in 2013, and nine other promising writers, Dalle Abraham (Kenya), Nkiacha Atemnkeng (Cameroon), Akwaeke Emezi (Nigeria), Timothy Kiprop Kimutai (Kenya), Jonathan Mbuna (Malawi), and Jonathan Dotse, Jemila Abdulai, Aisha Nelson and Nana Nyarko Boateng (Ghana).
During the workshop, the writers will be expected to write a short story for the 2015 Caine Prize anthology, which will be published by New Internationalist on 1 July 2015, and subsequently by nine co-publishers in Africa who will receive a print-ready PDF free of charge. Stories conceived at annual workshops are automatically entered for the following year’s Caine Prize.
Matt Lilley, CEO of Prudential Africa, said: “I am delighted that Prudential Africa is working with the Caine Prize to promote the richness and diversity of African writing in English. Prudential Africa is committed to investing in education and we look forward to working with the Caine Prize to nurture and inspire the next generation of writers.”
Additional support for the workshop is provided by Commonwealth Writers, the Beit Trust, the Morel Trust, Sub-Saharan Publishers, Writers Project Ghana, and the Goethe Institut, the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Ellah Wakatama Allfrey OBE, Deputy Chairperson of the Caine Prize, said: “As investment in Africa’s growing economies expands it is excellent to see the support businesses can provide to the arts, especially literature, and writing and reading, as part of their corporate social responsibility goals.”
Director of the Caine Prize, Dr Lizzy Attree said: “The success of the co-publishing arrangement with Sub-Saharan Publishers in Ghana, which has sold over 25,000 copies of Caine Prize anthologies in the last 18 months, suggests there is a great appetite for literature in Ghana, and yet there have been no Ghanaian Caine Prize winners to date. We hope that holding the first workshop in Ghana since 2009 will encourage entries from Ghanaian writers and strengthen local literary networks.”
The programme will include two public events. The first will be at the Coconut Grove Hotel in Elmina at 6pm on Friday, 17 April and the second will be at the Goethe Institut in Accra at 6pm on Saturday, 18 April.
The workshops will also incorporate visits to local senior and junior schools in the Elmina/Cape Coast area, offering students an opportunity to meet the writers and exchange ideas about writing and literature.
- A Life in Full and Other Stories: The Caine Prize for African Writing 2010 by The Caine Prize for African Writing
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