Apartheid's Hangover

Zakes Mda: painting the township red
photo: Courtesy Zakes Mda
Zakes Mda: painting the township red

Details

The Heart of Redness
By Zakes Mda
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 288 pp., $24
Buy this book

Ways of Dying
By Zakes Mda
Picador, 216 pp., $13
Buy this book

Inevitably, Camagu will be drawn into the ancient fight between the Unbelievers and Believers, as his affections become split between two women from opposing camps. Yet Mda leaves us, again, with a glimmer of possible harmony, as Camagu begins a successful cooperative society in the village and a movement is afoot to establish Qolorha-by-Sea as a protected national heritage site. With its deeply textured combination of the pitfalls of the present with the haunting legacies of the past, The Heart of Redness offers a view of the unwinding road ahead, already several paces beyond the more simplistic, freewheeling Ways of Dying. Here, to use Coetzee's words again, is another major step in the new South African novel—now a polyphony of voices, suddenly freed yet still shadowed by deep and immense riddles.

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