Wicomb takes M-Net prize

The novel is a remarkable work that tackles issues of identity in the “new South Africa”, as well as the way in which the past and the present interpenetrate and inform each other.

The novel tells the story of a man who was involved in the armed struggle against apartheid, as told to a woman writer who is trying to give some coherence to his story—and, if necessary, to invent elements that she cannot fully fathom. Set against the present-day narrative is that of the Griquas of the 19th century, their search for identity and self-determination. Wicomb interleaves the different narratives with consummate skill and delicacy, and the book (as the judges, of whom I was one, agreed), is exceptionally well written.

David’s Story is published by Kwela Books, which had the distinction of having three of its titles placed on the shortlist.
The other two were The Quiet Violence of Dreams by K Sello Duiker (which was commended by the judges for its adventurousness in teackling new issues in South African life) and Shark’s Egg by Henrietta Rose-Innes.

The winners in the other categories were: Die Swye van Mario Salviati by Etienne van Heerden (Afrikaans); Ifa Ngukufa by MJ Mngadi (Nguni languages category); Njeng Manong fa ke Sule by KD Kgatea (Sotho languages category); Tshi do Lilwa by N Phaswana (Venda); and Mbilu ya Wanuna by NB Mkhari (Tsonga).

Shaun de Waal

Shaun de Waal

Shaun de Waal has worked at the Mail & Guardian since 1989. He was literary editor from 1991 to 2006 and chief film critic for 15 years. He is now editor-at-large. Recent publications include Exposure: Queer Fiction, 25 Years of the Mail & Guardian and Not the Movie of the Week. Read more from Shaun de Waal