Time to revisit the timeless classics again

Seeing that this resolution wasn't taken at the beginning of the year, you'd surely emphathise with my optimism that this decision will stand the test of time.

Seeing that this resolution wasn't taken at the beginning of the year, you'd surely emphathise with my optimism that this decision will stand the test of time.

This year I am going to read other books - again!

I've already dispensed with Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart and am still punch drunk from the tragi-comedy that is the life of Okonkwo.

My resolve was further strengthened when I breezed through the Sesotho version of Thomas Mofolo's Traveller to the East, and I thought if I could go through a language I have not read in more than two decades, then my resolution is not as insurmountable as developing a six-pack.

I bumped into a conversation the other day from someone on mahogany row making a vow to re-read all the classics - I'm in fine company.

My case was made a lot easier by correspondence from Xarra Books who say they have stocked up on "new writings and stories from Africa".

What caught my eye on the list was the Mafikeng Diary of Sol Plaatje, a set of work about which Xarra has the following to say: "This diary provides a keen insight into the mind of a man who went on to become one of the key spokesmen for black rights in the early parts of the 20th century, and one of the founders of the African National Congress in 1912."

I remembered to put Plaatje's Mhudi on my resolution list.

If you, like me, are infatuated with the work of the first Drum generation of scribes, you will appreciate the wisdom of having Can Themba in your collection.

Xarra has The Will To Die, a collection of stories from this maverick which, excuse my ignorance, I have just learnt were banned in South Africa until August 1982!

For African classics, I will know how to locate Xarra, which is easier than trying to find a treadmill among a sea of intimidating contraptions.

With Thabo Mbeki out of the radar, there's going to be a paucity of well-worded speeches. I might as well re-read Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.

In my time I have only known one Bathsheba in real life. It might be worth my while to re-acquaint myself with Thomas Hardy's Far From The Madding Crowd to see what names the bookish used to give to their offspring before they remembered they were African. - Don Makatile

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