I’ve been a fan of radio host and journalist Redi Thlabi for some time, especially as a young journalist with a vested interest in the industry. She is a no-nonsense woman, but she is complex as well, often referring to her father and her childhood on her show.
The depth of her debut novel astounded me, taking me by the hand into a world that I, as a privileged white South African, can only get glimpses of. Redi tells the story of her eight month friendship with a notorious (and at times dangerous) Soweto criminal, Mabegzo, and how his life and death impacted her own story for the next fifteen years.
Its a powerful tale, both sad and moving, told with an intimacy and openness I wouldn’t have expected from such a public figure. It draws out a larger societal problem as it tries to analyse why young South African men become violent criminals.
I’m so glad Redi won the Alan Paton award this year for this book in which she wrestles her own demons. Read it, that’s all I can say. Oh ya, and pair it with a good Villiera Cab Sav, you won’t regret it