- Created: 13 February 2014
Sindiwe Magona, born in the Transkei , grew up in the harsh surroundings of the Cape Flats. Magona's writings recall her impoverished youth in South Africa, and her personal and political struggles, as a Black South African woman living under apartheid, to achieve racial and gender harmony in South Africa. Magona draws on the traditional Xhosa storytelling techniques remembered from her early childhood. It is a distinctive style of writing that prompted this description from The Washington Post Book World:To My Children's Children “ is a delightful poignant, feisty and uplifting story that chronicles in a refreshing and authentic voice, what it means to attain womanhood in a society where patriarchy and apartheid often conspired to degrade and enslave women.”
This extraordinary woman obtained her matric by correspondence, as a single parent, mother of three, with no fixed abode, and working as a domestic servant. She finally graduated with a BA degree from the University of South Africa as well as a Master of Science Degree in Organizational Social Work from Columbia University. In 1993 Hartwick College (USA) awarded her an honourary Doctorate in Humane Letters and in 1997, she was a New York Foundation of the Arts Fellow in the non-fiction category.
In 1976 Magona's commitment as a community activist was rewarded when she was invited to the International Women's Tribunal on Crimes Against Women in Brussels, and in 1977 the Cape Argus, recognized her as one of the 10 finalists for its Woman of the Year Award. At the height of her political activism, however, she found that the pen is mightier than the sword, as her writing allows her to challenge or influence public opinion while empowering black youths and especially women for the roles they should play in the new South Africa. Recently retired from the United Nations' Department of Public Information, New York , where she was based for many years, Sindiwe Magona has now returned to her homeland and is living in the Cape.
To My Children’s Children, David Philip, 1990
Living, Loving and Lying Awake at Night, David Philip, 1991
Forced to Grow, Women’s Press, London, 1992, David Philip, 1992
Push-Push and other stories, David Philip, 1996
Mother to Mother, David Philip, 1998