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Welcome to Our Hillbrow [Paperback]

Phaswane Mpe
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Paperback, Nov. 1 2001 --  
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Book Description

Nov. 1 2001 0869809954 978-0869809952
"Welcome To Our Hillbrow" is an exhilarating and disturbing ride through the chaotic and hyper-real zone of Hillbrow - microcosm of all that is contradictory, alluring and painful in the changing South African psyche. Everything is there: the shattered dreams of youth, sexuality and its unpredictable costs, AIDS, xenophobia, suicide, the omnipotent violence that often cuts short the promise of young people, and the Africanist understanding of the life continuum that does not end with death but flows on into an ancestral realm. Infused with the rhythms of the inner city pulsebeat, this courageous novel is compelling in its honesty and its broad vision, which links Hillbrow, rural Tiragalong and Oxford. It spills out the guts of Hillbrow-living with the same energy and intimate knowledge ,with which the Drum writers wrote Sophiatown into being.

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Review

"With the publication of Welcome To Our Hillbrow, South Africa now clearly boasts an author who shows exceptional talent and promise. Saint Molakeng, Sowetan Sunday World Like a lover who knows the flaws and weaknesses of his beloved and yet is still stirred to passion and affection by her, young author Phaswane Mpe loves Hillbrow. Laurice Taitz, Sunday Times Lifestyle This is the real African soil, as it is here and now......... It's a harrowing, revealing, human read about a lost generation clawing up through the concrete of the imploded inner city under which it has been buried. And it's all ours. Welcome to your world. John Matshikiza, Mail and Guardian"

About the Author

Phaswane Mpe teaches African Literature and Publishing Studies at Wits University. He has worked extensively in the South African publishing industry.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Post-Apartheid fiction Aug. 12 2003
Format:Paperback
Much of South African fiction deals with, by necessity, with the history of racialized oppression. This book takes a look at the post-apartheid South Africa where the old narratives no longer apply so neatly. The result is a wonderfully engaging book that deals sensitively with its characters, flaws and all.
The author writes beautifully and really delves into a number of extremely tough issues (aids, xenophobia, poverty) without being preachy. The story concerns the lives and loves of a couple of lovers and the people around them as they travel from the villages of the Limpopo province to the roughest inner-city neighborhood in Johannesburg. Love is betrayed with painful consequences to their relationship, their lives and those around them. Like any good novelist, Mpe is able to bring to life not only the characters who are struggling to move from poverty and apartheid to prosperity and education in a democratic South Africa, but the society around them.
My words are not doing justice to what a warm, sensitive and humanistic account of South Africans in their very troubled present.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars haunting and tragic, often brilliant Dec 3 2001
By Robert J. Crawford - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book was recommended to me as a way to understand what I was seeing as a visitor to S Africa, to get a bit into the inner lives of the characters that I saw as I was working.
It is a very sad story, in the form of a monologue to a dead boy - a squandered talent - and to his lost loves. While the voice is a bit off-putting, addressing the boy as "you" and then referring to everyone else in the third person, I got into the characters and the scene in great depth.
This is a chronicle of several failed attempts to leave a backward and xenophobic village, for a huge ghetto near Johannesburg. It is painful to read, but very very rewarding and an accurate reflection of the crisis in S Africa today, where the entire society seems to be breaking down in violence, Aids, promiscuity, and rape. According to my friends here, it is chillingly real and felt so to me.
Warmly recommended.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post-Apartheid fiction Aug. 12 2003
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Much of South African fiction deals with, by necessity, with the history of racialized oppression. This book takes a look at the post-apartheid South Africa where the old narratives no longer apply so neatly. The result is a wonderfully engaging book that deals sensitively with its characters, flaws and all.
The author writes beautifully and really delves into a number of extremely tough issues (aids, xenophobia, poverty) without being preachy. The story concerns the lives and loves of a couple of lovers and the people around them as they travel from the villages of the Limpopo province to the roughest inner-city neighborhood in Johannesburg. Love is betrayed with painful consequences to their relationship, their lives and those around them. Like any good novelist, Mpe is able to bring to life not only the characters who are struggling to move from poverty and apartheid to prosperity and education in a democratic South Africa, but the society around them.
My words are not doing justice to what a warm, sensitive and humanistic account of South Africans in their very troubled present.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Beautiful Books of Our Time Feb. 3 2013
By The Feather Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you love literature in all it's forms, you must read this. It's one of the most beautiful books I've ever touched and truly unique in form. I don't know anyone who wouldn't benefit from reading it. I must have loaned my copy out 5 times already, and the response when I get it back is always the same: That was amazing.
It's also a quick read, if you need that. But don't be surprised if you decide to read it again.
5.0 out of 5 stars Living in an Apocalypse Dec 20 2012
By Plato - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a brief but brilliant portrait of life in the ghettos of Johannesburg where somehow life goes on, people fall in love, suffer, and some find sufficient happiness to survive.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Sept. 15 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
a very good book. i love it
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