Mandla Langa

Mandla Langa was born in Durban, grew up in KwaMashu Township, and studied for a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Fort Hare. In 1980, he won the Drum story contest for The Dead Men Who Lost Their Bones and in 1991, he was awarded the Arts Council of Great Britain Bursary for Creative Writing, the first for a South African. In 1974, he became actively involved as a director of the South African Students’ Organization (SASO), maintaining this position until his arrest in 1976 for attempting to leave the country without a permit. As a result, he served 101 days in jail. While imprisoned, Langa continued to improve his writing skills. After serving his sentence, he fled to Botswana, marking the start of his life in exile. He also spent time in Lesotho and Angola where he participated in military training at the MK camps, also known as Umkhonto we Sizwe. In addition to Lesotho, Langa spent time in Mozambique, Zambia, Hungary and the UK. He held various ANC posts abroad, including cultural attaché in the UK and Western Europe. Langa’s success prompted his literary evolution to novel writing. Langa’s diverse work includes penning an opera, Milestones, with music composed by jazz musician Hugh Masekela. In 1999, Milestones was featured at the Standard Bank Festival in Grahamstown.


Tenderness of Blood, 1987, Zimbabwe Publishing House
A Rainbow on a Paper Sky, 1989, Kliptown Books
The Naked Song and Other Stories, 1997, New Africa Books
The Memory of Stones, 2000, New Africa Books
The Lost Colours of the Chameleon, 2008, Picador Africa
The Texture of Shadows, 2014, Pan Macmillan