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Welcome to Our Hillbrow

A Novel of Postapartheid South Africa

Phaswane Mpe

Publication Year: 2011

 Welcome to Our Hillbrow is an exhilarating and disturbing ride through the chaotic and hyper-real zone of Hillbrow—microcosm of all that is contradictory, alluring, and painful in the postapartheid South African psyche. Everything is there: the shattered dreams of youth, sexuality and its unpredictable costs, AIDS, xenophobia, suicide, the omnipotent violence that often cuts short the promise of young people’s lives, and the Africanist understanding of the life continuum that does not end with death but flows on into an ancestral realm. Infused with the rhythms of the inner-city pulsebeat, this courageous novel is compelling in its honesty and its broad vision, which links Hillbrow, rural Tiragalong, and Oxford. It spills out the guts of Hillbrow—living with the same energy and intimate knowledge with which the Drum writers wrote Sophiatown into being.

Published by: Ohio University Press


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. xi-xxvi

Phaswane Mpe (1970–2004) was one of the major literary talents to emerge in South Africa after the fall of apartheid. A graduate in African literature and English from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, he was a novelist, ...

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Hillbrow: The Map

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pp. 1-28

If you were still alive, Refentse, child of Tiragalong, you would be glad that Bafana Bafana lost to France in the 1998 Soccer World Cup fiasco. Of course you supported the squad. But at least now, you would experience no hardships walking to your flat through the streets of Hillbrow–that locality of just over one ...

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Notes from Heaven

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pp. 29-62

If you were still alive now, Refentse, child of Tiragalong and Hillbrow, you might finally have written the books you had hoped to write; completed your collection of poems called Love Songs, Blues and Interludes, that you wished to dedicate to our Hillbrow. Your one published short story about life in ...

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The Journey through Alexandra

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pp. 63-80

You cannot exactly say, Refentse, that you were happy when Lerato swallowed those tablets. See the World through the Eyes of a Child . . . was there, providing musical background to the moment of her reckoning. As you watched her make her final decision from your heavenly vantage point, you wished ...

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pp. 81-92

Refilwe would not have known the story of Piet’s death. Nor that he was in love with Liz, Lerato’s mother, mainly because their love relationship was cut short before Piet could blunder, could let out the secret affair for people of Tiragalong to pass along, with their ever-wagging tongues, to his wife in the ...

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Refilwe on the Move

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pp. 93-114

Tiragalong was quite impressed when it heard that Refilwe was going to do her Masters degree over-seas. Impressed, without knowing that she would shock them on her return. That was just over two years after Refentse’s suicide. ...

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The Returnee

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pp. 115-124

Refilwe returned home in September of 1999, a year after her departure from our Hillbrow and Tiragalong. She returned, as they say, with a degree in her bag. Troubled by her rapid deterioration.Swearing to herself that she would soon join her beloved Refentse in Heaven to await the coming of the other...

E-ISBN-13: 9780821443712
Print-ISBN-13: 9780821419625

Publication Year: 2011

OCLC Number: 733332493
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Welcome to Our Hillbrow

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Subject Headings

  • City and town life -- South Africa -- Fiction.
  • Hillbrow (Johannesburg, South Africa) -- Fiction.
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