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Mother to Mother


David Philip Publishers, 1998

ISBN-10: 0-86486-433-7       

ISBN-13: 978-0-86486-433-8 

Available at all leading bookstores or directly from: 


New Africa Books

1st Floor, 6 Spin Street, Cape Town 8001

Telephone: 021 4675860  

Fax: 0214675895






In August 1993, Fullbright scholar Amy Biehl was killed in Cape Town by a group of black youths incited by an upsurge of ‘anti-white’ sloganeering. That tragedy provoked ‘Mother to Mother  where  the killer’s mother addresses the mother of the victim and tries, through speaking to her pain, to gain an understanding of her son by recalling both his life and hers within the world of apartheid. The graphic account of life and culture in a black township during the apartheid years is both poignant and at the same time, in Magona’s vibrant style, extremely lively.




"Mother to Mother is a stunning novel; Magona has succeeded in her grand ambition to write a story of healing and confrontation. She has written a graceful, terrible story; it is an eloquent indictment of Apartheid and a passionate lament over the loss of Amy Biehl's life." 

— Angela Salas, The Boston Book Review


"As a lament for the terrible legacy of apartheid, the novel is surely a tour de force. As a story of individuals attempting to deal with choices made and perhaps regretted, it is a moving work of fiction."

— Lee Milazzo, Dallas Morning News


"Gripping. . . . Points to a redemptive hope for those who can come together for healing, even when they have been bound together by sorrow. The writer's own courage in writing this novel is evidence of an increasingly powerful literary voice for [her] nation."

—Heather Hewett, The Washington Post Book World






Watch a preview of the play

Poignant and powerful, this tour-de-force monologue was first conceived by South African actress, Thembi Mtshali-Jones, who approached Magona with the suggestion of transforming the novel into a monodrama. The intimate portrayal of a mother struggling to come to terms with the actions of her son is a deeply moving story of forgiveness and reconciliation.


Copyright © 2014 Sindiwe Magona  

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