OK, so we aren’t exactly in the realm of 21st Century feminist-oriented civilisation here, but the idea does fascinate me. Sonia on November 22, at 2: I wanted to like this book, I really did. PS Where are you studying this book? Mature love as a shelter from the storm that life has proven to be. We would not be needing to justify the communal voice that tells this story if you had not wondered how we became so omniscient in the affairs of Toloki and Noria. Jun 21, Monalisa Jackson rated it liked it.

Well, this is one of the best. You get shocked by the events and struggles that township people or rather informal settlement dwellers go through in their daily lives. In true Zakes Mda fashion, the narrative is highly descriptive and tackles political and socioeconomic challenges of black people pre and post democracy. They sit all day and dispense wide-ranging philosophies on how things should be. Ways of Dying Reading Schedule. You can use them until your situation has changed for the better, when you have found yourself. You would laugh and eventually stop. The two join up for survival, and the story involves etheral, dreamlike, and fantasy elements, and amongst all the death and decay they find happyness.

He would bribe and praise her, but as she grew older she found that she could get more interesting rewards from men closer to her own age. This is the first novel of Mda’s “first adult novel,” whatever that means. Just to take one wayw paragraph, almost at random there are so manybut one which captivates for me the elusive dging of his prose, which then serves to deepen the meaning the symbolism is not obscured by pompous words, rather it is made more powerful by zaked very simplicity.

He worked as a bank clerk, a teacher and in marketing before the publication of We Shall Sing for the Fatherland and Other Plays in enabled him to be admitted to the Ohio University for a three-year Master’s degree in theatre.

For the residents of the slums, murder is a daily occurence and nobody is spared, not even children or pregnant women. On Christmas day Toloki is reunited with Noria, a woman from his village and the mother of the young boy at whose funeral he has gone to practice his trade. He creates special sounds to lament the death of his employers’ loved ones and adopts an ascetic lifestyle he believes suits his profession.


The world with all of its aches and injustices truly belongs to all of us. And, of course, dyiing woman’s ability to sing for a man and thus zakse him to bloom to his full potential.


We would not be needing to justify the communal voice that tells this story if you had not wondered how we became so omniscient in the affairs of Toloki and Noria. In syhopsis early nineties Mda spent much of his time overseas, he was writer-in-residence at the University of Durhamresearch fellow at Yale University.

No individual owns any story. Both Toloki and Noria are broken people, but instead of going entirely to pieces they have found yding to channel their despair. And that the best creations are ones which men and women — or perhaps a man and a woman, achieve together.

He finally finds his true vocation as a “Professional Mourner”, selling his services at funerals by wailing and mourning wways dead people, whom, and whose mourners, he never met, dead or alive.

He already has something of a reputation, and people hire him to come to the funerals of their relatives.

Zskes share your thoughts and join the conversation! At first I thought that first person plural implied a folk tale, but this is a story that is too particular. And what beautifully controlled language Zakes Mda uses. When they believe all the children are asleep, they want to be pleasured.

It finds and shows us grace amidst the degradation, tenderness amongst the cynical hate and violence, and above all beauty and poetry in the bleak, prosaic stench of grasping synopsls. A chilling look into the settlements and the country during the Apartheid.

Indeed, creativity can be a most destructive force, because it is often highly impractical doesn’t put food on the tableand pf thus viewed as wasted, unproductive energy. The detail that the author puts into describing certain scenarios surrounding death I found to be awkward at times but nonetheless brilliant all along the way.

Nov 21, Taj rated it really liked it Shelves: For zakds of the CAL licence for educational institutions contact: On another level, it is of course a love story. Return to Book Page. Both Characters at the same time are experiencing friction and conflict in their lives that only compliments their journey together so well. It also works to establish a sweeping feel when the political and tribal violence plays a part in the story, too.


Ways of Dying (Toloki #1) by Zakes Mda

Toloki’s is obvious because zakws his profession but Noria’s is zaeks subtle and not fully realized until the end of the story. In a way this book does this — there are graphic descriptions of the grinding township poverty and degradation under which many, many South Africans of colour lived and still do live.

Shadrack was then told to have sexual intercourse with a rotting dead woman. Kagame seeks global participation in fight against genocide denial.

Book Review : Ways of Dying by Zakes Mda | The New Times | Rwanda

Jan Klinkies boycotts the tea, and removes himself from a system that glorifies usurpation of land. Day after day he attends funerals in the townships, dressed with dignity in a threadbare suit, cape, and battered top hat, to comfort the grieving families of the victims of the city’s crime, racial hatred, and crippling poverty.

Beginning with a strange job description of Toloki who is a mourner, the author states “He spends his sparse existence on the cremation ground, cooks his food on fires of a funeral pyre, and feeds on human waste and human corpses. That, once the creation is complete, it can and does inspire us to be joyful, to revel in our humanness the giggling laughter. Probably better to describe it as the struggle to live when death is everywhere you turn. I’m very interested to read more from this author.

I love the character Toloki! My review needs more than this, and I’ll come back to it after a second reading. W ill cite you and your work properly: Respect them; respect their lives.

Do NOT act like you are benevolent visitors. Somehow, the narrative style adds an “Everyman” component to a story that is otherwise actually very specifically about these two characters. Grant Farred, writing in Modern Fiction Studiescriticized Mda for his implicit condemnation of the historical, violent tactics used to resist Apartheid.

Noria learned to grieve through Toloki and Toloki learned how to persevere through Noria. We are like two hands that wash each other. A Bj Share this: Sudden elation overwhelms Toloki.

At the funeral of a small child, he recognises the bereaved mother.