African Delights is a unique literary journey through some critical moments in South African history. The journey begins in Sophiatown of the 1950s, one of the most definitive periods in South African urban culture. This part of the book is in dialogue and also pays tribute to Can Themba, once described by Lewis Nkosi as "the supreme intellectual tsotsi of them all."
The prose takes the reader to the emergency years of the eighties, where we are exposed to the painful rhythms of a society in distress through the eyes of a child. The transitional period of the nineties is reflected through the life of a young man, who has to confront the complexities of the new South Africa while carrying baggage of the old era. The realities of our society, after the first decade of our democracy, are interrogated in the last two sections of the book.
The Truth Stories sparks a dialogue between characters and weaves together human stories that reflect some of the challenges faced by the present day society. The last part of the text, which is also the title of the book, takes a closer look at the social fabric of the contemporary society. The stories collectively create a dialogue between the past and the present and also between various literary and historical texts.
The intertextuality of the stories posits history not as a series of events but as interplay between the past and the present while attempting to contrive the future. The simplicity of the prose invites the reader to intimately become part of the journey and laugh, cry, love and hate with the characters. African Delights is a delightful journey of uniquely South African stories from the past to the present and would prove to be an essential companion going to the future.
About the Author
Siphiwo Mahala is the author of When A Man Cries (2007), a novel which he translated into isiXhosa as Yakhal’ Indoda (2010). His short stories appear in numerous literary journals and magazines locally and internationally. He holds a Masters degree in African Literature from Wits University. He is the Head of Books and Publishing at the national Department of Arts and Culture.
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