“The voice of the voiceless has been emancipated with great skill...”
Mongane Wally Serote
“Beautifully (and differently) written… traces a real history of SA through minor, ordinary details of a family’s life and a few extraordinary experiences of not-very-powerful people.”
Rehana Rossouw, Business Day
“A fascinating perspective on Cape Town as an Indian Ocean city, drawing on both Malay and Indian strands...”
“He felt a compulsion to remember as much as he could, to make a good yarn out of the story trying to burst out. Khalil tried to contain it, to bottle it up, to close the lid on it, but it kept bubbling up, trying valiantly to get itself told…”
Ashraf Kagee, winner of the seventh annual European Union Literary Award, evokes the richly-textured beauty of everyday life of the last century’s Cape Malay and Indian cultures, and deftly captures the lyrical resonance of voices long forgotten by history.
Khalil, ‘the Companion’, is given his name by The One Above at his birth in 1903. Despite evidence of this divine interest, Khalil’s eighty-odd years of life remain fairly ordinary – even though many of these years are spent under the far from ordinary conditions of The System in South Africa.
In fact, apart from the high moments – an adolescent trip to India, the fleshly delights on his wedding night, and a memorable evening spent with the Black Pimpernel at an abortive meeting organised by the New Unity Movement – Khalil’s later life is mostly taken up with trying to keep his wife and children happy and fed, first as the owner of a general dealer in Woodstock, Cape Town, and later as a less-than-convinced lackey in a wheeler-dealer consortium selling polonies and saffron. Nevertheless, just as Khalil’s birth was a matter offering material for considerable discussion for the doekie-wearing aunties of the neighbourhood, at the end of his life Khalil finds there is more than enough to chew over in his life’s journey.
About the Author
Professor Ashraf Kagee is a lecturer at Stellenbosch University. He received his PhD in Counselling Psychology from Ball State University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and a Master’s degree in Public Health at the University of Cape Town.
Previous Winners of the EU Literary Award
2009/2010 Deeper than Colour by James Clelland
2008/2009 Saracen at the Gates by Zinaid Meeran
2007/2008 Till we can Keep an Animal by Megan Voysey-Braig
2006/07 Coconut by Kopano Matlwa
2005/06 Bitches’ Brew by Fred Khumalo and Ice in the Lungs by Gerald Kraak
2004/05 The Silent Minaret by Ishtiyaq Shukri
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|Parameters of Book: Book|
|Sub-title:||Winner of the European Union Literary Award 2011/12|
|mobi file ISBN:||9781431404834|
|Colour:||Black & White|