For several years, the work of award-winning South African author and activist Es’Kia Mphahlele has been out of print and unavailable due to circumstances surrounding his estate. The author who is celebrated as ‘the father of Afrikan Humanism’, was one of the founding figures of modern African literature. His literary work have played a pivotal role in bridging communication between African and Western societies.
Born Ezekiel Mphahlele in 1919, Es’Kia Mphahlele’s second autobiography, ‘Afrika, My Music’ is being republished by South African publishing firm Kwela Books and will be available to purchase on January 14. The book, originally published by Ravan Press, documents Dr Mphahlele’s return to South Africa after twenty years in exile and the challenges that he and his family endured on their return.
Afrika, My Music is a demonstration of the style of writing that earned Mphahlele a nomination for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1984. Although his legacy shows how committed his was to uplifting of Africans through education, his autobiography illustrates how his 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 Es’kia 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.
Es’kia Mphahlele died in 2008 aged 88.
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