Monday, 6 September 2010

RIP Lews Nkosi

pic jacked from BooksZA

I had the honour of being taught by Professor Lewis Nkosi, one of the Drum generation writers in SA, and I was very saddened to learn of his passing. He was one of the coolest, funniest and sharpest lecturers in African Studies, coming to his class was such a relief after being tortured with contemporary literary theory. You could laugh out loud in his class and engage in thought-provoking discussions with this koolkat - that's what he was a very wise, engaging smooth cat rather than stodgy academic - you know them types.
Lewis Nkosi, you will be missed.  

This is from Books SA:
The giant of South African letters and one of the last remaining voices from South Africa’s famed Drum generation of writers, passed away yesterday in Johannesburg, after a long illness. He was born in December 1936 in KwaZulu Natal, making him 74.
Nkosi’s first novel, which won worldwide acclaim, was Mating Birds. It was banned by the apartheid government; Nkosi lived for long periods in exile, particularly in Switzerland. His last novel, which I [Ben Williams] had the privilege of editing, was Mandela’s Ego. It was shortlised for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize.

His publisher, Annari van der Merwe said:
“If I think about Lewis, two things come to mind: the brilliance of the man’s mind, and his sense of irony – of self-irony. And of course he was quite naughty, but endearingly so. For all his bravado, he was sensitive in a way that few men truly are. There was a real empathy with people – and he had a very broad perspective, from having lived in a different cultural environment for so many years. The devil inside him prevented him from taking things too literally. It’s difficult to think of somebody so vibrant not with us any longer. He will be greatly missed.”

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