- Created: 17 February 2014
Fred Khumalo was born in 1966 in Chesterville, and grew up in Mpumalanga Township near the industrial area of Hammersdale, Durban. Khumalo now lives in Johannesburg where he works as the Insight & Opinion editor for The Sunday Times, and for whom he also writes a popular weekly socio-political column.
A journalism graduate from Technikon Natal, Durban, Khumalo was a runner-up for the Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award in 1991. In 1996, he was a runner-up for the Bertrams V.O Literature of Africa Award and in 2004 the manuscript for his novel, The Oneness of Two in Three, received an honourable mention in the inaugural European Union Literary Awards. The following year his novel, Bitches' Brew was joint winner of the same award. The novel, a South African love story set in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, focuses on the epic love affair between Bra Zakes, a former amateur musician, bootlegger, mercenary and killer of great repute and Lettie, a shebeen queen. It traces the couple's lives and loves through the interweaving of history and memory in the tradition of village storytellers.
Khumalo has worked for a variety of newspapers including UmAfrika, City Press, This Day, Sunday World, Toronto Star in various capacities as a reporter, columnist and editor. He has also published numerous short-stories in commercial magazines and literary journals includingStaffrider, Tribute, Drum and Pace. Last year his autobiographical novel Touch My Blood, a no-holds-barred account about coming of age in a Durban township in 1980s South Africa and set against a background of township life, gangsterism and political violence, was published to excellent reviews.
Khumalo is currently working on a novel calledSeven Steps to Heaven which features some of characters introduced in Bitches' Brew. He has also been commissioned by Penguin Publishers to write an autobiography on Jacob Zuma, due to be published by end of 2007. He comments: “I only decided to be a writer when I was in high school and started reading magazines such as Tribute, Drum and Pace. I became a writer because there are so many stories to tell.”
Touch My Blood: The Early Years, Umuzi, 2006
Bitches' Brew, Jacana Media, 2005