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Singing Away the Hunger : The Autobiography of an African Woman

 
 
 
 
Singing Away the Hunger : The Autobiography of an African Woman
Author: Mpho 'M'atsepo Nthunya
ISBN 13: 9780253211620
ISBN 10: 25321162
Edition: 1st Indiana University Pr
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Publication Date: 1997-10-22
Format: Paperback
Pages: 200
List Price: $18.00
 
 

"... this gem of a book deserves a wide audience. Appropriate for African and women's studies courses and a must for college and university libraries." — Choice

"... Mpho relates the story of her life with an integrity that makes for utterly compelling reading.... The fortitude of this woman, now in her late 60s, is a lesson to us all." — The Bookseller, United Kingdom

"This is a fascinating autobiography..." — KLIATT

"... a powerful autobiography of a Lesotho elder who tells her life as an African woman in South Africa. The focus on black culture and concerns as much as racism allows for an unusual depth of understanding of black concerns and lifestyles in Africa." — Reviewer's Bookwatch

"An African woman's poignant and beautifully crafted memoir lyrically portrays the brutal poverty and reliance on ritual that shape the lives of her people, the Basotho.... A commanding and important work that will captivate readers with its unique voice, narrative power, and unforgettable scenes of life in Southern Africa." — Kirkus Reviews

"... a stunning autobiography of a remarkable woman... Nthunya's telling is eloquent. Although her voice is generally one of dignified emotional distance, it is punctuated by her very human humor and pain." — Publishers Weekly

"... recommended for collections in African folklore." — Library Journal

"I am telling my stories in English for many months now, and it is a time for me to see my whole life. I see that things are always changing. I was born in 1930, so I remember many things which were happening in the old days in Lesotho and which happen no more. I lived in Benoni Location for more than ten years, and I saw the Boer policemen taking black people and beating them like dogs. They even took me once, and kept me in one of their jails for a while." — Mpho 'M'atsepo Nthunya

A compelling and unique autobiography by an African woman with little formal education, less privilege, and almost no experience of books or writing. Mpho's is a voice almost never heard in literature or history, a voice from within the struggle of "ordinary" African women to negotiate a world which incorporates ancient pastoral ways and the congestion, brutality, and racist violence of city life. It is also the voice of a born storyteller who has a subject worthy of her gifts — a story for all the world to hear.

Library Journal

This implausible memoir is from a woman who experienced extreme adversity, suffering the loss of six children and her husband and then struggling to support her remaining family as a domestic worker. It is the narrative of a woman with a primary education who speaks eight languages and once had a prosperous farm. Nthunya is also a storyteller, relating how her mother was expected to marry someone her father selected for her, thereby collecting a bride-price. But her mother prayed that she would die, only to have her father and husband-to-be pass away instead. Another tale concerns the author's brother-in-law, who put a cruel spell on her and her children after her husband died because she wouldn't allow him to step in as their father, as is the custom. Eventually, three of her sons died, and she blamed her brother-in-law. A tragic, depressing look at life in South Africa; recommended for collections in African folklore.Ann Burns, "Library Journal"