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Lauretta Ngcobo: Writing as the Practice of Freedom

Barbara Boswell, editor
Lauretta Ngcobo: Writing as the Practice of Freedom
ISBN: 978-0-7969-2624-1
2022/273 pages
Voices of Liberation
Distributed for HSRC Press 
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When Lauretta Ngcobo died in 2015, Africa lost a significant literary talent, freedom fighter, and feminist voice. Ngcobo was one of the pioneering writers who first published novels in English from the vantage point of black women. Along with Bessie Head and Miriam Tlali, she showed the world, through her fiction, what it was like to be a black woman in apartheid South Africa.

Barbara Boswell deftly traces Ngcobo's life, presents excerpts from her literary work, and assesses the nature of her enduring legacy.


Barbara Boswell is associate professor of English literary studies at the University of Cape Town. She is author of And Wrote My Story Anyway: Black South African Women's Novels and Feminism and Grace: A Novel, winner of the University of Johannesburg Debut Creative Writing Prize.


  • In the Beginning: Welcomed by Poetry.
  • The Makings of a Writer: The Intersection of Culture and Education.
  • Articulation, Writing, and the Development of a Feminist Consciousness.
  • Marriage and a Deepening of Political Activism.
  • Exile.
  • Life in Britain and the Start of Serious Writing.
  • Writing and Publishing Cross of Gold.
  • Let it Be Told: The Making of a Feminist Literary Critic and Literary Activist.
  • And They Didn’t Die.
  • Return from Exile.
  • Entry into Formal Party Politics.
  • Retirement and a Return to Writing.
  • Photo Gallery.
  • Interviews with Robert Bush, Margaret Daymond, Brian Worsfold, Meghan Healy-Clancy, Polo Belina Moji.
  • Excerpts of Ngcobo’s Work:
  • Previously Unpublished Introduction to Cross of Gold.
  • Excerpt from Cross of Gold— Chapter 1.
  • And They Didn’t Die— Chapter 1.
  • "The African Woman Writer."
  • "My Life and My Writing."
  • "African Motherhood: Myth and Reality."
  • Introduction to Let It Be Told: Black Women Writers in Britain.
  • "My Life and My Writing."
  • Introduction to Soweto Stories by Miriam Tlali.
  • "Impressions and Thoughts on the Options of South African Women."
  • "Now that We’re Free."
  • Introduction to Prodigal Daughters: Stories of South African Women in Exile.
  • A Writing Life Prematurely Foreclosed.