THE HIDDEN STAR, K. Sello Duiker’s timeless tale for younger readers, is now widely available around the world from Cassava Republic Press. First published in 2006 by the Umuzi imprint of Penguin Random House South Africa, and subsequently by Cassava Republic in Nigeria and West Africa, this year marks the first publication in the UK and North America and the rest of the English-speaking world.
Eleven-year-old Nolitye lives in a shack with her mother Thembi in Phola, a dusty township on the edge of Johannesburg. She loves maths and collecting stones, which she keeps in a bucket under her bed. She also has magical powers: she can communicate with dogs.
Nolitye’s granny used to say: ‘If you mess with a woman, you mess with a stone,’ and when Nolitye finds a magical stone on the dusty streets of Phola, her granny's words take on a new meaning. Along with her two friends — pampered Bheki, and Four Eyes, a reformed member of the Spoilers gang led by Rotten Nellie — Nolitye puts the powers of the stone to good use. For the first time the threesome can stand up to the Spoilers, Nolitye can save the life of Rex, the leader of a pack of talking township mutts, and dare to look scary MaMtonga — with her living brown-and-green snake necklace — in the eye.
But soon Nolitye finds out that the purplish-blue magic stone is one of five needed to put right things that started to go wrong the day her father died in a mining accident when she was five years old. Or so she was told by her mother... Merging a cast of characters from African myth and folklore with everyday township life, K. Sello Duiker created a magical world and a truly wondrous quest that will appeal to an ageless audience.
By his untimely death, K. Sello Duiker had published various short stories and two novels. THIRTEEN CENTS was awarded the Commonwealth Prize for a first novel, while THE QUIET VIOLENCE OF DREAMS was translated into four languages, and won the Herman Charles Bosman Prize for English Literature. THE HIDDEN STAR was published posthumously.
Praise for K. Sello Duiker
THE HIDDEN STAR
‘That rarity – an artist whose literary prowess hit us in our collective face with such vehemence that we couldn’t help but sing his praises…On the face of it, THE HIDDEN STAR is a simple story of magic and fantasy…Duiker’s book is lean and taut…Not only is the book entertaining and pacy, but it succeeds in evoking the innocence and curiosity of a child, while communicating larger truths about the vulnerability of human beings… I got goose-bumps reading it.’ - Fred Khumalo, The Sunday Times
‘One of my favourite fiction reads of the year.’ - Jakes Gerwel, The Sunday Independent Writer‘s Choice 2006
‘Duiker has taken South African fiction to another level…It’s a truly wonderful novel whose words flow like poetry.’ - Angelique Serrao, The Saturday Star
‘The visions are powerfully rendered and stylistically reminiscent of those experienced by Ben Okri’s young protagonist in THE FAMISHED ROAD.’ - Robyn Alexander, Mail and Guardian
‘K. Sello Duiker… got South Africans talking about books.’ - Justice Malala, FT Magazine
‘A remarkable first novel.’ - Sam Raditlahlo, Feminist Africa
THE QUIET VIOLENCE OF DREAMS
‘He had the genius to give South African literature a breath of life and youth – to this day unparalleled. We must read him and thank him.’ – Le Monde