- Category: PA 2009
Sindiwe Magona is a prolific and multi-award winning author of plays, novels, a memoir, educational books for children and poetry. She was born in Gulungulu in the Transkei in 1943 and now lives in Cape Town.
Magona's writings recall her impoverished youth in South Africa, and her personal and political struggles, as a black South African woman living under apartheid, to achieve racial and gender harmony in South Africa. She draws on the traditional Xhosa storytelling techniques remembered from her early childhood. It is a distinctive style of writing that prompted the following praise from The Washington Post : “ To My Children's Children is a delightful poignant, feisty and uplifting story that chronicles in a refreshing and authentic voice, what it means to attain womanhood in a society where patriarchy and apartheid often conspired to degrade and enslave women.”
This extraordinary woman obtained her matric by correspondence, as a single parent, mother of three, with no fixed abode, and working as a domestic servant. She graduated with a BA degree from the University of South Africa as well as a Master of Science Degree in Organizational Social Work from Columbia University. In 1993, Hartwick College (USA) awarded her an honourary Doctorate in Humane Letters and in 1997, she was a New York Foundation of the Arts Fellow in the non-fiction category.
Apart from her lifelong work as a writer, she worked as a translator at the UN in New York for twenty years. She is an outspoken critic of all forms of injustice and she is a tireless activist particularly for women's rights. Please, Take Photographs is Magona's first collection of poetry and will be launched at the festival.