Sometimes There Is a Void: Memoirs of an Outsider

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Macmillan, Jan 3, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 561 pages
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Zakes Mda is the most acclaimed South African writer of the independence era. His eight novels tell stories that venture far beyond the conventional narratives of a people’s struggle against apartheid. In this memoir, he tells the story of a life that intersects with the political life of his country but that at its heart is the classic adventure story of an artist, lover, father, teacher, and bon vivant.

Zanemvula Mda was born in 1948 into a family of lawyers and grew up in Soweto’s ambitious educated black class. At age fifteen he crossed the Telle River from South Africa into Basutoland (Lesotho), exiled like his father, a “founding spirit” of the Pan Africanist Congress. Exile was hard, but it was just another chapter in Mda’s coming-of-age. He served as an altar boy (and was preyed on by priests), flirted with shebeen girls, feared the racist Boers, read comic books alongside the literature of the PAC, fell for the music of Dvorák and Coltrane, wrote his first stories—and felt the void at the heart of things that makes him an outsider wherever he goes. The Soweto uprisings called him to politics; playwriting brought him back to South Africa, where he became writer in residence at the famed Market Theatre; three marriages led him hither and yon; acclaim brought him to America, where he began writing the novels that are so thick with the life of his country. In all this, Mda struggled to remain his own man, and with Sometimes There Is a Void he shows that independence opened the way for the stories of individual South Africans in all their variety.
 

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SOMETIMES THERE IS A VOID: Memoirs of an Outsider

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Acclaimed South African novelist, playwright and poet Mda (Cion, 2007, etc.) pens a memoir setting his experiences against the backdrop of a country in turmoil.Both the author's life and his narrative ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

CHAPTER ONE
1
CHAPTER TWO
23
CHAPTER THREE
59
CHAPTER FOUR
95
CHAPTER FIVE
150
CHAPTER SIX
178
CHAPTER SEVEN
213
CHAPTER EIGHT
258
CHAPTER ELEVEN
363
CHAPTER TWELVE
395
CHAPTER THIRTEEN
416
CHAPTER FOURTEEN
449
CHAPTER FIFTEEN
489
CHAPTER SIXTEEN
521
Acknowledgements
553
Selected Index
555

CHAPTER NINE
284
CHAPTER TEN
311
A Note About the Author
563
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Zakes Mda is a professor of creative writing at Ohio University. He has been a visiting professor at both Yale and the University of Vermont. Among his novels, The Heart of Redness (FSG, 2002) won the Richard Wright Zora Neale Hurston Legacy Award. He lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Athens, Ohio.

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