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The Madonna Of Excelsior - A Novel (Paperback, First) Loot Price: R337
Discovery Miles 3 370
You Save: R80 (19%)

The Madonna Of Excelsior - A Novel (Paperback, First)

Zakes Mda

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List price R417 Loot Price R337 Discovery Miles 3 370 You Save R80 (19%)

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The Madonna of Excelsior is based on an astounding apartheid miscegenation scandal which led to disgrace, scandal and suicide. The setting is Excelsior, a rural Free-State town dominated by so-called upstanding Boer citizens and their church life. However, Mda reveals the town's secret - the 'eminent' white men spend their evenings indulging in partner-swapping, alcohol-fuelled sex with their black 'maids'. When the women become pregnant the scandal explodes, several of the men attempt suicide and the government is faced with an embarrassing contravention of the 'immorality act'.   
Mda's narrative is centred around Niki, one of the women who becomes pregnant after her revenge-fuelled affair with a white townsman (she is humiliated by the man's wife), and her mixed-race daughter Popi, who finds as she grows up that she's 'not white enough for the white people, nor black enough for the African people'. Mda became fascinated with the story on one of his trips around South Africa, and was intrigued as to how the children of the 'scandal' had managed to reconcile their pasts. 
The novel is at times almost too painful to read, although Mda handles issues such as rape, abuse and alienation with skill and compassion. Although he has been criticised for his 'commentary' on certain political and social issues (such as his polemic against the creators of an abrasive 'skin-whitening' cream used by many of the novel's characters), it is a compelling novel that exposes the absurdity of apartheid and the dignity and strength of those who lived through it intact.
The title alludes to the real-life art works of Father Frans Claerhout, an artist who painted the women of Excelsior, and who inspired the author.
The background is the notorious 1971 case in which nineteen citizens of Excelsior in the Free State were charged with breaking apartheid's Immorality Act, which forbade sex between black and white. In an extraordinary alchemy of words into art, Mda tells the story of a family at the heart of the scandal ? of Niki, the fallen madonna, Popi, her daughter by an eminent white citizen of the town, and Viliki, the betrayed son, and of how they come to terms with the repercussions and find resolution in surprising ways.

By turns earthy, witty and tragic, this energetic novel deftly handles issues of racial identity, rape and revenge. It is also a brilliantly observed study of the inner workings of small-town South Africa, and the changes rural communities have undergone.


Imprint: Picador USA
Country of origin: United States
Release date: March 2005
First published: March 2005
Authors: Zakes Mda
Dimensions: 210 x 140 x 18mm (L x W x T)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 258
Edition: First
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-42382-7
Categories: Books > Fiction > Genre fiction > Historical fiction
Books > Local Author Showcase > Fiction - adults > Zakes Mda
LSN: 0-312-42382-9
Barcode: 9780312423827

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