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The Memory of Stones [a novel]

Mandla Langa
ISBN: 978-0-89410-866-2
2000/366 pages/LC: 00-022413

"This panoramic novel, richly furbished with the texture of experience, is composed in a fine blend of factual and lyrical prose."—Andries Oliphant, Commonwealth & Comparative Politics

"Written with a profound insight into the lives which vary from women's libbers to tsotsis, this is a book which probes apartheid and changing values in a matter of fact and often very humorous way.... The book examines how traditionalists deal with westernization, how whites deal with a changing and often violent society and how ancient traditions still play a role in modern society. The Memory of Stones is an enjoyable read written with skill and great insight."—Helen Crooks, Eastern Province Herald

"If you haven't read anything by Mandla Langa, one of South Africa's most respected writers and cultural commentators, this book will certainly leave you wanting to read everything else he has written.... The Memory of Stones is a litany to the dispossessed, to those who have taken part in the struggle, be it political, social or personal in nature, and who now find themselves out of work and out of favour.... Langa, in his storytelling, encompasses a vast amount of social and historical commentary. This is done with sensitivity and often wry humour.... This is a book not to be missed."—Suzanne Joubert, Cape Times


Ngoza, in KwaZulu-Natal—South Africa's most turbulent province—is transformed when clan leader Baba Joshua dies and his headstrong daughter tackles the age-old shibboleths held by traditionalists and gangsters alike.

The reluctant heroine of this novel, Zodwa, finds support from unlikely quarters. A disenchanted ex-ANC guerrilla and a dyed-in-the-wool white supremacist join forces with Zodwa to rid Ngoza of the terror wreaked by warlord Johnny M. and his henchmen. But the biggest battle she faces, in the midst of intrigue and ritual and routine violence, is with herself as she grapples with love and betrayal.

This is Mandla Langa's most ambitious work to date, drawing on his experience of exile in Europe and Africa and coming home to a new democracy still trying to define itself. 


One of South Africa's most respected writers and cultural commentators, Mandla Langa is author of Tenderness of Blood, A Rainbow on a Purple Sky, The Naked Song and Other Stories, and the opera Milestones.
No rights in South Africa