Th ando Mgqolozana


When Thando Mgqolozana blew into the literary mainstream last year with his debut novel A Man Who Is not a Man, he was a gust of fresh air. His book, about the perils for Xhosa youths of circumcision, brought fame and loads of notoriety, especially among conservatives who were naturally affronted by the uppity Eastern Cape-born young man, raised in the village of Engojini, who was challenging the age old tradition of circumcision. A graduate of the university of the Western Cape, Mgqolozana became a writer after stint as politician. At university he was twice elected to the executive committee of the South African Students Congress and the Student Representative Council. But it was not all about politics; he also received awards, including the Golden Key International Honour for academic achievement, and was selected as a Mandela Rhodes Scholar. Mgqolozana has worked for the Human Sciences Research Council, where he co wrote a research monograph on nursing and another on the South African brain drain. When he is not on the literary circuit, he is based at the research office of the university of KwaZulu-Natal, working on his research interests, which include masculinities, literature, education and health. � Percy Zvomuya

Lunch spot: Moyo at Spier, Cape Town