In 1957 Mphahlele, a professor of English denied employment, left his native South Africa for an exile that was to last 20 years. Fidelity to his people and to his art eventually led him to return to ``a country where the black man has learned to wait, endure, survive'' and to fictionalize his observations in the stories collected here. Poignant and eloquently political, Mphahlele's work is populated by a spectrum of citizens, ranging from a white Afrikaner who becomes aware of the individuality and humanity of his black servant in the story ``The Living and the Dead,'' to village women on market day. Stereotyped by a racist regime as simple and imperceptive, Mphahlele's folk are in fact as complex and fragile, bewildered and graceful as any of their white oppressors. In ``Point of Identity,'' a man debates whether to declare himself ``coloured'' on his identity pass (enabling him access to more material comforts) or a ``native'' (aligning himself with the cause). In ``Mrs. Plum'' a kitchen servant learns that not all white people think alike when her mistress writes editorials advocating the right of black people to govern themselves. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988 Release date: 11/01/1988 Genre: Fiction
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