Gail Fincham


Zakes Mda — novelist, playwright, painter and musician of the ‘new’ South Africa — started his career as a writer working in theatre-for-development with the Maratholi Travelling Theatre in Lesotho in 1985. Since then, Mda has written numerous plays which incorporate popular indigenous modes of performance to educate his audience for democracy. With the ending of apartheid in South Africa in 1994, creative writers transferred their energies from themes of resistance and struggle to issues of reconciliation in a newly democratic nation. They were, in Njabulo Ndebele’s terms, free now to ‘rediscover the ordinary’. Mda responded by moving to novel writing, finding in this fictional genre a new narrative freedom. Over the last few years he has published Ways of Dying (1995), The Heart of Redness (2000), The Madonna of Excelsior (2002), The Whale Caller (2005), Cion (2007) and Black Diamond (2009).



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