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Phaswane Mpe

Johannesburg, South Africa

Email: mpep@wiser.wits.ac.za

Home page: http://www.wits.ac.za/wiser

Born in 1970, I grew up in a rural village near Polokwane in the dry and poor Limpopo Province, South Africa. My reading diet outside of school set works comprised popular magazines like "Drum" and "Bona" and, later during my secondary school days, the works of Enid Blyton, Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Herman Charles Bosman and Kgadime Oliver Matsepe. I completed my degrees in African Literature and English at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and a Diploma in Advanced Study in Publishing at the Oxford Brookes University, Oxford. It was during my university years that I came to know many important names in African literature as our apartheid educational system made no effort to promote them; indeed, they were often branded as subversive and "communist", and therefore forming part of the monster called "an undesirable element".

My debut novel, "Welcome To Our Hillbrow" (Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 2001), deals with themes of xenophobia - especially amongst Africans in South Africa - HIV/Aids, suicide and witchcraft. I feel that the twin themes of xenophobia and HIV/Aids in the South African context have to date not received as much attention as they merit, especially given the high numbers of African internationals in the country and the high death rate amongst South Africans due to HIV/Aids; I hope that my novel goes some way in contributing to the quality of discussion and exploration of these concerns in the meagre relevant literature that exists in the country.

The novel is based on short stories written earlier, four of which appear in "Unity in Flight: Short Fiction" (Johannesburg: Botsotso Publishing, 2001) and one in Stephen Gray's (Ed.) "Modern South African Stories" (Johannesburg: Ad Donker, 2002).

I have a number of poems published and forthcoming in different journals: "New Coin", "English Academy Review", "Botsotso Magazine", "Blue Fifth Review" and "Popular Culture".

Interests: Reading, Music and Soccer

Published writer: Yes

Freelance: No

 

Published works:

Fiction

  • Welcome To Our Hillbrow