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Mother to mother
Sindiwe Magona
Adult Fiction MAGONA

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From Publishers' Weekly:

The senseless killing of Amy Biehl, a young Fulbright scholar who had gone to South Africa to help residents prepare for the first democratic elections in the history of that country, is the basis for this novel. On the day before she was scheduled to return home to America in August 1993, Amy gave a ride to several co-workers who lived in the poverty-ravaged all-black township of Guguletu. Rioting students pulled her from her car and stabbed her. South African novelist and short story writer Sindiwe Magona eschews a tabloid recreation of the crime, envisioning instead the world of Amy's killers, and creating in Mandisa, the mother of one of those young men, a martyr whose heart and life reflect the tragedy of apartheid. As her son Mxolisi's guilt is revealed, Mandisa mourns him, equating her loss with Amy's mother's. Determined to strike a common chord of grief with the woman she views as her Sister-Mother, Mandisa laments the circumstances of her own life, thereby hoping to explain her son's actions. She recalls with affecting clarity her coming of age in a stern but loving community whose reliance on established customs are a refuge from the relentless and brutal change instigated by the government's apartheid policy. Happy until the age of nine, when her family is forced to relocate to a desolate patch of land, Mandisa becomes a mother at 15 and a housemaid shortly thereafter. Mxolisi's introduction to racial violence occurs as a child, when he witnesses the shooting deaths of two older boys whom he idolizes; by age 20, he's become a respected leader of the student revolutionary movement. Although Magona's pacing seems irritatingly slow at times, the mood becomes taut as Mxolisi and Amy approach their moment of destiny in this chilling and ingenious docudrama, a noteworthy American debut for a writer whose work has received well-deserved praise in her own country. 3-city author tour. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Based on the death of Amy Biehl, a white American student killed by black youths in South Africa in 1993, this novel looks at the murder through the eyes of the killer's mother (in the novel, only one youth committed the crime). In a letter to the murdered woman's mother, Mandisa tells the story of her oldest son, Mxolisi, born when she was 14. Growing up under apartheid, with little education, crushing poverty, and no hope for the future, Mxolisi becomes one of the lost ones, so full of rage that every white face becomes the enemy and freedom is won only through blood. Yet as Magona shows, each character must share some responsibility for the tragedy that destroys two families, making this more than simply a novelization of a headline. Magona's portrayal of one mother's suffering is written with depth, honesty, and compassion for all of apartheid's victims. First published in South Africa in 1998, this is recommended for large public libraries and libraries with collections of modern African literature.ÄEllen Flexman, Indianapolis-Marion Cty. P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Mandisa
Single mother
Mxolisi's mother.

Age: 20
Gang leader; apartheid protestor; accused of killing an American woman.

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