AUTHORS Keorapetse Kgositsile and James Ogude will discuss Es'kia Mphahlele's Down Second Avenue as guests of the Miriam Tlali Reading and Book Club at Xarra Books in Newtown tomorrow at 2pm.
Everyone is welcome.
This legacy programme of the South African Literary Awards, managed and coordinated by wRite Associates, celebrates the life, times and contribution to South African literature of Miriam Tlali, who is the first local black woman writer to publish a novel in English.
The club has honoured Tlali, Mandla Langa and Wangui wa Goro. Mphahlele is next in a prospectively-long string of deserving fellow writers whose trials, tribulations, achievements and legacies are worthy of this prestigious platform.
He was a novelist, short-story writer and critic. While others campaigned from the soapboxes and trenches, legendary writer Mphahlele formed words into a weapon of mass emancipation, one of which is the vivid autobiography Down Second Avenue.
In an almost unimpassioned approach, Mphahlele uses descriptions of life in the Marabastad ghetto's four-roomed houses and tin shacks, brimming with sewage and misery and the suburbs with the opposite of all these, to paint stark contrasts of class, privilege and prejudice.
He plants himself as a growing observer and active and placid participant sharing the oppressive "kitchens" with domestic workers, feeling it all himself as a young garden boy and then rising from it all, unembittered and all the wisest.
In 2005 he received the Lifetime Literary Award under the South African Literary Awards, a nation building partnerships project of Sowetan, the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation and the Department of Arts and Culture.