This rich and absorbing biography of Can Themba, iconic Drum-era journalist and writer, is the definitive history of a larger-than-life man who died too young. Siphiwo Mahala’s intensive and often fresh research features unprecedented archival access and interviews with Themba’s surviving colleagues and family.
Mahala’s biography takes a critical historical approach to Themba’s life and writing, giving a picture of the whole man, from his early beginnings in Marabastad to his sombre end in exile in Swaziland.
Mahala, a master storyteller, deftly follows the threads of Themba’s dynamic life, showcasing his intellectual acumen, scholarly aptitude and wit, along with his flaws, contradictions and heartbreaks, against a backdrop of the sparkle and pathos of Sophiatown of the 1950s.
Can Themba’s successes and failures as well as his triumphs and tribulations reverberate on the pages of this long-awaited biography. The result is an authoritative and entertaining account of an often misunderstood figure in South Africa’s literary canon.
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