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Dog Eat Dog

A Novel

Niq Mhlongo

Publication Year: 2012

Dog Eat Dog is a remarkable record of being young in a nation undergoing
tremendous turmoil, and provides a glimpse into South Africa’s
pivotal kwaito (South African hip-hop) generation and life in Soweto.

Set in 1994, just as South Africa is making its postapartheid transition,
Dog Eat Dog captures the hopes—and crushing disappointments—
that characterize such moments in a nation’s history.

Raucous and darkly humorous, Dog Eat Dog is narrated by Dingamanzi
Makhedama Njomane, a college student in South Africa who
spends his days partying, skipping class, and picking up girls. But
Dingz, as he is known to his friends, is living in charged times, and
his discouraging college life plays out against the backdrop of South
Africa’s first democratic elections, the spread of AIDS, and financial
difficulties that threaten to force him out of school.

Published by: Ohio University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 7-10

I received that curt, insensitive letter on the warm evening of the 13th of March 1994. I had just eaten my dinner at the YMCA in Braamfontein. The Y, as we affectionately called it, had offered me temporary accommodation...

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pp. 11-21

On Monday morning I stormed into the Financial Aid Office at the East Campus Senate House. I just couldn’t understand why I could not be granted some kind of financial assistance. The government was pumping...

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pp. 22-29

Dr Winterburn read each one of my documents carefully. At the same time she added some information to the notes on her computer screen. I glared at my father’s death certificate, which lay next to her right...

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pp. 30-33

Landing back in Dr Winterburn’s office from the reminiscence of my father’s death, I saw her putting my documents back into the large brown envelope that I had brought with me. She took a deep breath...

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pp. 34-43

At about half past three that afternoon I found myself at the Jorissen Street branch of the Standard Bank. The sun was still very hot. There were about nine people waiting to use the ATM. Ahead of us...

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pp. 44-52

The sweet kwaito music blaring from a white CITI Golf passing along De Korte Street helped to bring me back from my reminiscence. I looked at the time. It was ten minutes to six in the evening. The gliding amber...

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pp. 53-57

I lay on my single bed, under the full glare of a dazzling bulb reflected from the white ceiling, reading the sticker on the door of my wardrobe. The ink had faded away on the third line and all that was legible...

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pp. 58-66

A winding fifty-metre queue stretched out from Braamfontein Civic Centre. We had been standing there for about two hours. The opportunity to vote had attracted many people; I saw a crowd of men and women...

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pp. 67-71

A tall dirty-looking white man was standing on Jorissen Street next to the robots. In both hands he carried a large piece of cardboard with these words emblazoned in black lettering. He waved it as he walked...

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pp. 72-76

It was busy in the Jo’burg city centre. Everybody was trying to make money. We crossed Commissioner Street to get to the taxi rank next to the Carlton Centre. The taxi queue marshals were busy calling loudly...

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pp. 77-82

Theks and myself remained seated uncomfortably on the back seat of the noisy death-trap minibus. It ran hell for leather along Commissioner Street via John Vorster Square. Ear-splitting music was blasting from...

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pp. 83-92

Half a dozen of ngudus (quarts of beer) stood in front of us. Dunga, Themba, Vusi and myself were sitting outside my home on Vilakazi Street in Orlando West. There was no one at home and I guessed that...

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pp. 93-97

Dunga and Vusi were still sitting on the lawn outside my house drinking beer. Theks and Lerato, Theks’s friend who lived a few blocks away, had joined them. It was obvious that Lerato had been organised...

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pp. 98-103

The sound of trains slowing up at nearby Phefeni station echoed through the neighbourhood. It was growing dark outside. The music was getting louder and there were the sounds of revving cars and shouting...

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pp. 104-113

A husky muscular voice called my name from the intercom on the second floor of the Y building where I was staying. I was called three times before I answered...

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pp. 114-131

‘O-one. T-two. Th-three. Down-dow-wn go! Dow-wn dow-wn go! Down do-wn go! Down-down do-wnn gooo! Hoo-rah!’ We were in the Dropout bar on Jorissen Street in Braamfontein. A multiracial group of drunken students...

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pp. 132-137

On Saturday morning I was woken up by the intercom again. I was not expecting any visitors and I was suffering from a serious hangover from the previous night’s drinking spree. I rubbed my eyes to remove some sleep...

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pp. 138-147

The following Monday at dawn I felt an acute pain. Reaching down I could feel that I had grown a bubo in my groin. I tried to ignore the pain and stared at the ceiling, where two butterflies fluttered around the glowing...

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pp. 148-155

It was about half past eleven when I arrived at the accommodation office. There were five guys sitting on the bench outside, waiting to be helped. After twenty minutes it was my turn and the student assistant...

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pp. 156-164

On a Friday afternoon in the last week of June I sat on the grey steps outside the Great Hall. The weak winter sun had failed to break through the scattered cloud. I had been basking in the patchy sunlight for about forty...

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pp. 165-170

I walked through Park Station, which was filled with commuters milling about lazily. Some people were queuing at the kiosks to buy tickets for the trains and buses; others were crowded around the bistros that operate...

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pp. 171-182

At half past three that afternoon Dunga and I walked down the congested street to Park Station to catch the train home. Since I had been chucked out of the Y, I had been travelling every day from Orlando West to campus...

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pp. 183-195

We were on the main road through Orlando West, next to the Hector Peterson commemorative stone and opposite Uncle Tom’s Hall. Dunga’s forefinger pointed down to stop taxis bound for Bara Hospital...

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pp. 196-200

My grip was surely slipping. I thought I had already lost my hold. Although I was watching an old Bruce Lee movie, Enter the Dragon, on SABC I, my mind was busy trying to come up with a plan to secure an aegrotat...

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pp. 201-207

That Monday morning the trains were delayed for about an hour. A man had been electrocuted on a pylon between Phefeni and Dube stations. About five electricians were busy working to remove the body...

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pp. 208-211

I looked at the dean with disbelief as the silence simmered between us. He examined the death certificate that I had submitted for a few seconds, as with his short, thick fingers he repeatedly stroked his bushy beard...

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pp. 212-222

The 16th of December was born under overcast heavens. The university was closed for the academic year. All my friends had managed the minimum requirement to be re-admitted, although we had all failed one or two courses...

Author Credits

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pp. 224

E-ISBN-13: 9780821444139
Print-ISBN-13: 9780821419946

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • College students -- Fiction.
  • City and town life -- Fiction.
  • Johannesburg (South Africa) -- Fiction.
  • South Africa -- Fiction.
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