Acclaimed South African author Zakes Mda's candid, vigorous autobiography SOMETIMES THERE IS A VOID has been released in South Africa by Penguin Books and will be published in the US in 2012 by Farrar Straus & Giroux. Zakes Mda will be touring in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and appearing at the Franschhoek Literary Festival in May.
In this memoir Mda weaves together past and present to give an intensely personal story of his development in life, in love and in learning, and the events and people who shaped him. Forced to follow his father, PAC 'founding spirit' A P Mda, into exile in Lesotho (then still Basutoland) at the age of fourteen, Zakes initially finds freedom from close parental discipline irresistible and becomes a frequenter of shebeens and an exponent of fast living, but he also becomes politicised during this time. We are given a fascinating insight into the growth and development of both the PAC and the ANC in exile, as well as contemporary social history.
As Penguin SA say: 'Always outspoken, Mda has been a frank commentator on the social and political scene in South Africa and has made a number of powerful people unhappy with his views. Although he 'resisted the centre' and 'stayed on the periphery' and sees himself as an 'outsider' who has been sidelined in many aspects of his country's society, his contribution to the social and cultural advancement of his fellow South Africans remains undiminished. This vigorous and vibrant account of his life is enriched by Mda's astute perceptions, his wry humour and his ability to engage with his reader on a very personal level.'