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Miriam Tlali Biography

(1933– ), Muriel at Metropolitan, Amandla, Staffrider, Rand Daily Mail, Mihloti, Footprints in the Quag, Soweto Stories

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South African novelist, born in Doornfontein, Transvaal. She spent two years at Witwatersrand University; when it was closed to black students, she completed her studies at the National University of Roma, Lesotho. Her experiences as a clerk in a hire-purchase business formed the basis for her first novel, Muriel at Metropolitan (1976), which is regarded as the first treatment in English of the cultural and political conditions afflicting black women. Amandla (1981) dealt with the schoolchildren's rebellion in Soweto in 1976; both novels were banned in South Africa until the lifting of apartheid. She was among the founders of Staffrider, South Africa's leading forum for black writers, for which she wrote the ‘Soweto Speaks’ column, and has been a noted contributor to the Rand Daily Mail; some of her journalism is collected in Mihloti (1984), which also contains interviews and samples of her travel writing. Footprints in the Quag (1989), published in Britain as Soweto Stories (1989), is a collection of stories and dialogues which reflect her increasing interest in the resources of an oral culture.

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