Miriam Tlali was a novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist, and activist against apartheid and patriarchal confinement. She worked consistently to build literary and political community, was one of the founders of Staffrider magazine, promoting the work of younger writers, and was the most prolific writer of her time.
Hailed as the first black woman to publish a novel within the country in English under apartheid, and as the first black woman to significantly impact the male terrain of South African short story writing, Tlali held the mantle of many firsts. Fiercely opposed to censorship, she went to great lengths to undermine the will and impact of the apartheid censors and wrote many essays exposing the violence and hypocrisy of apartheid censors. A prolific writer whose plays were performed on two continents, Tlali was routinely banned in South Africa – once after a mere public reading of a story before it was even published. Tlali was recognised as an important South African literary voice, and her first novel was translated into Japanese, Dutch, German and Polish, while it remained banned in the country of her birth.
This new addition to the Voices of Liberation series, Miriam Tlali: Writing Freedom, brings together select original writing by Tlali with analyses of the many ways in which she imagined freedom. Like the other books in the Voices of Liberation series, this title surfaces how Tlali’s writing of freedom retains relevance beyond the specific site and conditions of its emergence.
Part 1 Her life
Tlali and Staffrider/Black Consciousness
Tlali is born
Writing as activism
Part 2 Her voice (Selected writings of Miriam Tlali)
Cecily Lockett Interview with Miriam Tlali
Miriam Tlali interview with Lilian Ngoyi
Miriam Tlali interview with Annanias?
Miriam Tlali Interview with Flora Mooketsane
Chapters x and y from Muriel at Metropolitan
Chapters x and y from Between two Worlds
Chapter x from Amandla
The haunting melancholy of Klipvoordam (short story published in Staffrider and later Mihloti) (p.92)
Soweto Hijack (short story)
Crimean Injuria (three-act play)
Quicksands and Quagmires
Remove the chains
Note by Barbara Boswell on Amandla
Part 3 Her legacy
Staffrider and Black Consciousness: Gendered
Race, class and gender
Boundaries and belonging
Writing the nation and articulating identity
Tlali as a generational pioneer
A black feminist writer's ambivalent locations
Tlali as a key feminist thinker on feminist community
Tlali as a key feminist thinker against rape
Tlali as a key thinker on black subjectivity
Tlali and Black Consciousness literature
Writing as activism