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Es’kia Mphahlele’s Afrika, My Music Republished

Afrika, My MusicNew from Kwela, a republication of Afrika, My Music by Es’kia Mphahlele:

In this, Es’kia Mphahlele’s second autobiography – published originally in 1984 – he recounts his return to South Africa after twenty years in exile and the challenges that he and his family faced in returning to the land of his birth before the momentous events of the 1990s. Filled with extraordinary, precise prose, Afrika, My Music showcases the kind of writing that earned Mphahlele a nomination for the Nobel Prize for Literature in the year this book was originally published. Mphahlele’s commitment to education and to the upliftment of Africans across the continent has never been in doubt, but this autobiography lays bare just what this unwavering focus cost him and his family.

On a larger geopolitical level, Africa, My Music is a book that charts of the rise and fall of the great and the not-so-good of the African revolutionary movements of the 1960s and 1970s – people who Mphahlele often knew personally. This is not only the biography of a man who fell painfully short of achieving the goals he had set himself as a young man in Marabastad (the Sofiatown of Pretoria), but also the biography of a generation of African thinkers and revolutionaries who achieved so much but whose dreams of a continent remade were never fully realised.

About the author

Professor Es’kia Mphahlele was, until his death in 2008, one of Africa’s most prolific authors on education, literature and culture. He was the recipient of numerous national and international awards. In 1969 he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature and in 1984 he was awarded the Les Palmes Academiques by the French Government for his contribution to French Language and Culture. In 1998 former President Nelson Mandela awarded him the Order of the Southern Cross, the highest recognition granted by the South African Government. In the year 2000 he was acknowledged as: Writer of the Century by Tribute Magazine.

For many years Mphahlele’s work has been out of print or unavailable due to circumstances surrounding his estate. The republishing of Afrika, My Music marks a watershed moment in this situation and will allow the reappraisal of the importance of the work of one of South Africa’s most important authors of the twentieth century.

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