In this chapter, you will meet the writers of Cape Town. White, black, Coloured, or an expat from another African country, nobody interviewed here remains untouched by the difficulties of being a South African writer. These include the mixed-race writer who thinks the time has come for a post-race world, the mainstream South African writer who is so fed up with white ignorance that she is organizing literary festivals for black audiences, and the literary author who has decided to collaborate on a series of alt history science fiction Westerns set in the USA. All in a city sliced in half by wild country, which is eccentric, in turmoil, divided, politicized, one of the most divided and unequal in the world–Cape Town.
You can read through the whole chapter by following the "next" links at the end of each interview, or jump to a specific interview by using the links below. Start with the introduction
. You can always return to this chapter index by clicking on the "100 African Writers of SF—Part Four" link at the top of each interview, and return to the overall project index by clicking on the 100African category, or clicking here
Here be people who confront South Africa, analyse it, and in some cases, ignore it.
“I wanted to talk about who gets to be African, and what that means: history and responsibility and enlightenment.”
“That sense of the past being unsuppressable does have a particular South African relevance.”
“Writers really work in the darkness, or at least late evening, and can’t know the point of what they’re doing.”
“It’s that idea that we’re not allowed to speak with each other’s voices. It’s important to imagine each other.”
“Video games are very visceral. They’ve made me want to write very viscerally, and obsessed with set pieces like in video games or movies.”
“‘The Mother Fucking City’ is just set in Cape Town. It’s a surreal political story. ‘Political surrealism’ is the genre my publisher called it.”
“I write about places that aren’t popular settings for fiction, like Durban, Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown.”
“In the Eastern Cape, the Khoisan fought colonisation for about 150 years. Bambatta was a massive rebellion against taxes, hut taxes, that kind of thing.”
“I don’t think I’m going to define the experience of living in a township. I’ve been there a few times but that’s not enough. It’s a difficult situation to look at. You are aware that you are very lucky."
“It’s about a curry-mafia princess who falls in love with the leader of an all-girl gang of anarchists, and finds out that her father is the sex slaver that the anarchist gang are hunting down.”
“What frustrates us about art is that it becomes an elite thing where the ordinary people can’t relate to it, like in a gallery. I feel weird in galleries.“
[South Africa] may have dealt at least partially with apartheid. But too many legacies of colonialism remain.
Rather than try to determine who lives in Cape Town and who does not, this is a long list of South African writers whom I did not interview.