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Speaking Out: In Conversation with Niq Mhlongo

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2015
Author Moreillon Olivier, Stiebel Lindy,
Project Cities in Flux: Capetonian and Durbanite Literary Topographies
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Alternation
Volume (Issue) 22(2)
Page(s) 255 - 269
Title of proceedings Alternation


This interview with Niq Mhlongo was conducted in Durban on 22 March 2014. Mhlongo was in Durban as part of the Time of the Writer Festival hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) where he featured on a panel entitled ‘Chronicling the Contemporary South African Story’ together with Kgebetli Moele. His finger-on-the-pulse reports of South Africa’s post-apartheid social complexities and challenges have rightly established him as part of a young generation of black South African writers. While his earlier writing is characterised by its frank style and humorous dialogues, Way Back Home, which sternly criticises the corruption among South Africa’s elite, shows a more earnest and post-modern side of the author. It will be interesting to see where Mhlongo’s future projects take him. In the following interview, Mhlongo talks about the extent to which South Africa’s past permeates the present, the importance of ‘home’ and tradition in his writing as well as the contribution of Way Back Home to the ongoing political discourse.