‘My writing is my response to this ever-changing world’ – Read an interview with Sindiwe Magona about her new book When the Village Sleeps
Pan Macmillan has shared an interview with the legendary Sindiwe Magona, about her latest novel When the Village Sleeps!
When the Village Sleeps is a visionary novel about what the loss of identity and dignity do to a people afflicted by decades of brokenness.
Told through the lives and spirits of four generations of amaTolo women, including The Old, who speak wisdom with ever-increasing urgency, it moves between the bustling township setting of Kwanele and the different rhythms of rural village life, while boldly exploring urgent and contemporary issues.
Read an excerpt from the interview:
One can’t help but not think about the African Proverb ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ when reading the title of the book. Was the title inspired by this proverb?
Yes, it was. In the novel itself, this proverb is evoked. Our proverbs encapsule the wisdom of our ancestors. They may not have left us written instructions about life and how it should be lived … all that is in these proverbs. This one, in particular, underscores the vital importance and inevitability of the oneness of all humanity; and points to the inescapable responsibility that is the present cohorts of parents, in community, should and must pass on what lessons it has learnt from its predecessors.
What do you hope the reader takes away from this extraordinary book?
That none of us can be a spectator in life; we all have innate abilities which are needed on earth to make life for all, a good life. In each generation, the cohort of parents have a duty to pass on to the succeeding generation what it received from the preceding one. The adults have a collective responsibility for the children of this country … they are ours in community and the distress in which the young wallow should be the business of the entire nation, not just the biological parents or guardians.
Your writing career spans from the 1990s to democratic South Africa, how do you see your role as a writer, writing for different generations?
My writing is my response to this ever-changing world. Therefore, although I may refer to the past, the time of my earlier years or even further back than that, it is always and ever the present that consumes me … and the future it will or may birth.