Mother to Mother. Sindiwe Magona

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9780864864338: Mother to Mother. Sindiwe Magona
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Sindiwe Magona's novel Mother to Mother explores the South African legacy of apartheid through the lens of a woman who remembers a life marked by oppression and injustice. Magona decided to write this novel when she discovered that Fulbright Scholar Amy Biehl, who had been killed while working to organize the nation's first ever democratic elections in 1993, died just a few yards away from her own permanent residence in Guguletu, Capetown. She then learned that one of the boys held responsible for the killing was in fact her neighbor's son. Magona began to imagine how easily it might have been her own son caught up in the wave of violence that day. The book is based on this real-life incident, and takes the form of an epistle to Amy Biehl's mother. The murderer's mother, Mandisi, writes about her life, the life of her child, and the colonized society that not only allowed, but perpetuated violence against women and impoverished black South Africans under the reign of apartheid. The result is not an apology for the murder, but a beautifully written exploration of the society that bred such violence.

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About the Author:

After leaving the black township of Guguletu, South Africa, Sindiwe Magona earned her master's degree at Columbia University. She currently lives in New York, where she works at the United Nations. She has contributed to The New York Times and her work has been anthologized in Under African Skies.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A black South African writer, now New Yorkbased, debuts with a novel that, as it seeks to explain the real-life 1993 murder of young American Amy Biehl, is often more an angry indictment of apartheid (justified) and of whites in general (less justified). Biehl was an idealistic Fulbright Scholar who, while working on a democracy project, was dragged from her car in a black township and stabbed to death by a mob of young blacks. The Biehl family has been remarkably forgiving, though the youths were subsequently released. The narrative takes the form of an imaginary letter written to the young womans mother by Mandisa, the mother of one of the accused, 20-year-old Mxolisi. She attempts to elucidate why her gentle son became a killer, recalling her own childhood and the brutal relocation of her entire community to Guguletu, a segregated area in a barren place far from the city. At 15, she accidentally became pregnantwhich, as much as apartheid, led to a hard life for both mother and son: Mandisa, forced to leave school, became a maid and reared Mxolisi alone. Eventually, bright Mxolisi also dropped out of school, in his case because Mandisa could no longer afford his textbooks. He was soon active in the ``No Education Before Liberation'' movement of the late 1980s, as black children left the classrooms for the streets to protest apartheid in increasingly violent ways. Popular and gifted, he became a leader of the gang that would turn murderous. The story, a heartfelt brief in support of a son and a lost generation, has a vehement, polemical tone. Whites are described as the ``scourge `' that must be removed; Mandisa tells Mrs. Biehl that ``people like your daughter have no inborn sense of fear. They so believe in their goodness'' that it ``blinker(s) their perception.'' The prose is also uneven, and the voice far too sophisticated for a narrator of supposedly limited education. A disappointing take on a vital, relevant subject. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Sindiwe Magona
Published by New Africa Books (Pty) Ltd, South Africa (1998)
ISBN 10: 0864864337 ISBN 13: 9780864864338
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Book Description New Africa Books (Pty) Ltd, South Africa, 1998. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In August 1993, Fulbright scholar Amy Biehl was killed by a group of black youths. Mother to Mother was provoked by that tradgedy. The killer s mother addresses the mother of the victim and tries to gain an understanding of her son. Seller Inventory # AAO9780864864338

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Book Description New Africa Books (Pty) Ltd, South Africa, 1998. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In August 1993, Fulbright scholar Amy Biehl was killed by a group of black youths. Mother to Mother was provoked by that tradgedy. The killer s mother addresses the mother of the victim and tries to gain an understanding of her son. Seller Inventory # AAO9780864864338

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