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Penguin SA

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Masande Ntshanga reflects on the access to rare South African books he benefited from at UCT

Author pic of Masande Ntshanga


The ReactiveThe ReactiveMasande Ntshanga chatted to LIVE Magazine recently about writing, reading and Fees Must Fall.

Ntshanga won the 2013 Pen International New Voices Award and was shortlisted for the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing. His debut novel, The Reactive, was published in October 2014, and has just been released in the United States.

When asked what his advice would be for aspiring writers, Ntshanga advises perseverance and a lot of reading, and quotes a character from the new David Gates novella: “Write through the self-loathing.”

Ntshanga completed his undergraduate degree and a Creative Writing MA at the University of Cape Town, and was asked how he feels about the Fees Must Fall protests that began last year. He cited the literary resources he was given access to as an important justification for inclusivity on South African campuses.

LIVE SA: What made UCT your university of choice? Any thoughts on #FeesMustFall?

Masande: Recently, while looking for a novel by Mbulelo Mzamane, I looked at my UCT Library e-shelf and realised I’d loaned out about 513 books from the library over the course of five years, which was an embarrassing number. In any case, looking back through that list I came to the realisation that over those years, I’d had access to a substantial number of Southern African novels that you can’t find anywhere else in this country, at the moment, or even abroad. For example, Philip Zhuwao and Alan Finlay’s The Red Laughter of Guns in Green Summer Rain doesn’t exist on Amazon.

This is all to say that the institution holds many resources when it comes to literature, among other things, and I see every reason to be in solidarity with a movement that proposes more inclusivity and a wider sharing of those resources.

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Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">GrahamDowns</a>
    February 18th, 2016 @11:42 #

    That's pretty cool.

    I just hope, I hope against ALL hope, that the library, and all those books, survive this protest. I really do.

    I doubt they will, though. Come on protesters, prove me wrong: protect the books! :-(


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