Children of Paradise

Book Launch by author Mbulelo Vizikhungo Mzamane

Launch Details:
Date                Thursday, 16 February
Time                17h00 to 20h00
Venue              The Rio Room – Carnival City, Brakpan

Review:

The tale that unfolds in Children of Paradise is one of strength, endurance and overcoming obstacles.  Mzamane eloquently uses words to paint a picture of life in the townships during some of the worst years of apartheid.  But far from being a sombre read, the tone of the book is positive and even uplifting.

Charmingly relayed through the innocent eyes of a young boy, the reader will be taken on a journey through the 1950s in the now extinct Old Brakpan ‘location’ in what is now known as Ekurhuleni.  In the book, women emerge as heroines of continuance who make sure life progresses from one era to the next. The author expertly breathes life into the colourful characters in the book, some of whom impart light humour to the story, while others bring wisdom and insight.  Mzamane spent part of his childhood in Brakpan and so the portrait his pen paints is an accurate one.

Intertwined with the personal drama of family and friends is the unfolding historical account of parents, neighbours, friends and an entire community caught up in the maelstrom of the struggle at the times of the Defiance Campaign, the introduction of Bantu Education, the adoption of the Freedom Charter with the Congress of the People, the Women’s Anti-Pass Campaign, bus and consumer boycotts and the Treason Trial.

Children of Paradise is a wonderful, heart warming story that captures the very fabric and essence of the period.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITOR

  • Among Professor Mbulelo Vizikhungo Mzamane’s many academic achievements, he has also published several other works and was the founder chairman of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism (affiliated to the University of the Witwatersrand).  A full copy of his CV is available on request.
  • The book has been published by the University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.
  • The book is being launched by The Afrisun Trust, Carnival City, Sun International, Encyclopaedia of South African Arts, Culture & Heritage (ESAACH), Prince Lengoasa and Motheo Lengoasa and the University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.
  • The book is available online at exclusives.co.za and Kalahari.com.  Copies will be sold at the launch at R130 each.
  • Professor Mzamane is available for interviews. Time slots are open in the late morning and early afternoon of the launch, and will be held at Carnival City. To book an interview slot, please contact UKZN Press – Ms. Adele Branch at Tel: +27 (33) 260 5255 or e-mail: brancha@ukzn.ac.za 

BIOGRAPHY

Professor Mbulelo Vizikhungo Mzamane

Mbulelo Vizikhungo Mzamane is Project Leader and General Editor of the Encyclopaedia of South African Arts, Culture and Heritage (ESAACH).  He serves on the Presidential Review Committee on State Owned Enterprises, appointed by President Jacob Zuma. 

Mzamane, the first winner of the Mofolo-Plomer Prize for Literature (1976), is the author of Mzala: The stories of Mbulelo Mzamane; Children of Soweto; Children of the Diaspora; Children of Paradise; and a children’s book, The Race between the Turtles and the Cheetahs. He edited Selected Poems: Mongane Wally Serote; Selected Poems: Sipho Sydney Sepamla; Hungry Flames and Other Black South African Stories; and Words Gone Two Soon: Tribute to Phaswane Mpe and K. Sello Duiker. He is also the author of Revisioning Africa; Human Righting Apartheid and co-editor of Global Voices: Contemporary Literature from the Non-Western World (with Bill Beatle and others), ‘the most comprehensive anthology on the subject available anywhere in the world’; Images of the Voiceless: Essays on Popular Culture and the Media (with John Haynes and Aderemi Bamikunle); and Multicultural Education in Colleges and Universities; A transdisciplinary approach (with Howhard Ball and Steve Berkowitz). He has also edited Road to Democracy in South Africa, 1970-1980 and, a companion volume, Road to Democracy in South Africa, 1950-1970: South Africans Telling their Stories.  He is co-author, with Bernard Magubane, of Bernard Magubane My life and times.

He became the first post-Apartheid Vice Chancellor in 1994 at the University of Fort Hare, where he also held the faculty rank of professor in English Studies and Comparative Literature.  In a career spanning for decades, Mzamane has also held academic posts in Botswana, Lesotho, Nigeria, England, Germany, USA, and Australia.