Mpe was among our best writers

In the first of three profiles of the winners of the literary posthumous category of the 2007 South African Literary Awards, we focus on Phaswane Mpe.

In the first of three profiles of the winners of the literary posthumous category of the 2007 South African Literary Awards, we focus on Phaswane Mpe.

The awards were pioneered by the Department of Arts and Culture and wRite Associates. Sowetan is one of its media partners.

The other two winners are poet Sipho Sepamla and novelist Dalene Mathee.

Mpe, who was born in Limpopo, was regarded as one of South Africa's most talented and promising young novelists.

He was also a lecturer in African literature at Wits University.

Mpe's debut novel, Welcome to Our Hillbrow, was published in 2001. Much of his poetry and many of his short stories were about HIV-Aids.

In Welcome to Our Hillbrow, he explores how Aids exacerbates xenophobia.

He did a publishing course with the Oxford Brookes University and later completed his masters degree at Wits.

Mpe wrote many articles for newspaper columns on topics as varied as culture and politics. His expertise also kept him very busy and he was constantly asked to judge literary events.

Sadly, Mpe passed away in December 2004. - Source wRite Associates

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