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Njabulo Ndebele Biography

(1948– ), Staffrider, Contrast, Classic, Izwi, Expression, Fools and Other Stories

south african black literature

South African writer and president of the Congress of South African Writers (COSAW); born in Johannesburg, he grew up there and in Charleston Location, Nigel. He earned a reputation as an outstanding poet in the late 1960s, being widely published in South African journals such as Staffrider, Contrast, Classic, and Izwi. As editor of the student literary journal Expression he emerged as a leading literary theoretician of the Black Consciousness Movement, and he has subsequently played a crucial role in directing and shaping critical discourse around South African literature. He received wide acclaim for his first book Fools and Other Stories (1985). Lyrical and vibrant in their telling, the five short stories in this collection deal with childhood and the experience of growing up in the black urban locations in which Ndebele was himself raised. Their thrust stems from his belief that too much of the imaginative lives of Africans has been given away to the oppressor and his deeds. The author explained in an interview that ‘the book was an attempt on my part to focus attention on the quality of life in its creative aspects in the townships’. His South African Literature and Culture: Rediscovery of the Ordinary was published in 1994.

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