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From woke to wide awake: The power of Es’kia Mphahlele’s writing

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Marcus Mabusela and Josias Moleele rehearse Father Come Home – Tate Etla Gae. Picture: Supplied
Marcus Mabusela and Josias Moleele rehearse Father Come Home – Tate Etla Gae. Picture: Supplied

Rami Chuene talks to Helen Herimbi about translating Father Come Home 

Some South Africans only know Es’kia Mphahlele as the name of a street that is often mentioned as congested on radio traffic reports. Today, his work can be used as a route to self-discovery, and perhaps even self-acceptance for those who go and watch Father Come Home – Tate Etla Gae at The Market theatre in Johannesburg.

Mphahlele, who died in 2008 at the age of 89, was a legendary writer, activist and nominee for the Nobel prize for literature. So woven into every sentence was the collective human experience that he was hailed as the “father of African humanism”. In his lifetime, he published two autobiographies as well as many short stories and novels that dealt with South African life, apartheid’s effect on it and the pursuit to understand oneself in the greater scheme of things.

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