On our Lists this week: Njabulo Ndebele,Lion Songs, and Johannesburg Hospital

The Cry of Winnie Mandela by Njabulo Ndebele (David Philip)

The Cry of Winnie Mandela by Njabulo Ndebele (David Philip)


The Cry of Winnie Mandela by Njabulo Ndebele (David Philip): As I prepare for a lecture I’m giving on the legacy of Winnie Mandela at the Institute for Creative Arts this week, I have finally had the chance to read this factional (fiction + faction), writerly take on the lives of four South African women waiting for their husbands to return—epitomised by Winnie Mandela’s waiting for hers. I really like how much licence Ndebele allowed himself when writing about these women’s lives and writing in their voices, especially without ever having interviewed Mandela. Her voice has its own curious and interrogating echo, which makes for a more rounded view of the other women only beginning to see with more clarity.

Johannesburg Hospital 1890 – 1990 by Lorna Schreiber: This week has been an interesting history lesson. I wrote about women in the arms struggle and in the medical sphere from way back when. To do this, I had to dig much deeper than textbooks and online archives. It took going to Constitution Hill, making innumerable phone calls and getting a copy of Prodigal Daughters, edited by Lauretta Ngcobo, to bring the history of these women to light. And even when I did, I still needed to do some thorough fact checking and cross-referencing. Just as I was about to make do with what I had, a colleague who was a nurse a while ago left this book,about the history of Johannesburg Hospital, on my desk. There is so much to know out there, so much to read and learn from. I’m excited. (ZH)


Lion Songs: Essential tracks in the making of Zimbabwe by Thomas Mapfumo: You know when you know of someone’s work but you’ve never readily engaged with it beyond one or two songs? I’ve been sleepingface down, in the same position,for years because of one song that I could never get over, under or beyond —Gwindingew Rine Shumba.Now I see there is way more where that came from. (MB)

The Lists were compiled by Milisuthando Bongela, Kwanele Sosibo, and Zaza Hlalethwa

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