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Niq Mhlongo’s powerful stories take on poverty, corruption and lockdown – with a dash of magic realism

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The cover of For You, I’d Steal A Goat by Niq Mholngo.
The cover of For You, I’d Steal A Goat by Niq Mholngo.

BOOK: For You, I’d Steal A Goat by Niq Mholngo (Kwela)

Madoda is displaced in Johannesburg when, upon his return to his home from is workday as a gardener, he discovers that the houses in his township of Sophiatown have been razed to the ground by the apartheid government. His wife and children are missing. He had not been entirely certain that the state would make good on its threat to remove by force the black inhabitants of this vibrant neighbourhood. He finds a deserted house, spends the night with some displaced neighbours, including a drinking buddy, and begins the trek to the new settlement on the south-west of the city, beyond the gold mine dumps. A kind woman and her neighbour offer him refuge while he continues his search for his family and for a job in the new township. Several months later, just as he is about to abandon hope of ever seeing his wife and the kids again, he makes a startling revelation about the true nature of his hosts’ hospitality.

While visiting Germany as a performer, Lungelo is grounded together with his friend, Zwai, and his German lover, Ursula, as the country locks down during the Covid-19 pandemic. Fearing that he may never see home again, Lungelo convinces Ursula to go against her European Protestant background and steal a goat for him so that he may communicate to his ancestors in South Africa his wishes and desire to survive the pandemic and introduce his beloved to his country – with surprising results.

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