IN HONOR OF MIRIAM MASOLI: AN ICONIC APARTHEID CRITIC AND AUTHOR.
By Susan Johnes
We shine our light, praise, and honor to the late renowned South Africa novelist Miriam Masoli who passed away on Feb 24th, 2017, aged 83. She was brought up at Sophia Town in Johannesburg, an area known for the black community settlement.
We remember the black woman for her work “Muriel at Metropolitan,” a book released in 1975 which implied “Between two worlds.” The book marked the first English publication of a black South African woman.
Additionally, she wrote several books with the viewpoint of apartheid and feminist perspective. Among them include Amandla (1980), Mihloti (1984), Footprints in the Quag (1989).
Her critic novel “Muriel” was written in 1969, but had to be published six years later due to rejection by many publishers. Moreover, Miriam had to drop out of the University of Witwatersrand because of its closure for blacks during the apartheid era.
Frequently, she wasn’t happy with the living conditions of fellow black people in their African country. At that time, there was widespread segregation in the daily life revolving around the use if railways, cars, office facilities, cars, restaurants and other public amenities.
Her first publication portrayed the grand and petty apartheid experienced in South Africa. The book showed how the African women labored and how the “whites” took the employment opportunities to their advantage. The novel, “Muriel at Metropolitan” gained a global recognition with more than 40 published editions between the years 1970-2005.
Despite the criticism in her first novel, Masoli brought yet again the black conscious to light in her book Amandla (1980). The book portrayed the youth uprising in Soweto school. Her publications centered on the experience of Soweto especially women who have suffered for a long time in the hands of the Apartheid.
Masoli became an enemy of the state because of her criticism in most of her writing. More importantly, she wrote the novel when the black in South Africa experienced apartheid.
Even though she received international recognition with her literature, she had repeatedly been harassed, arrested, and assaulted due to her political prominence in a target of the regime’s security branch.
Her efforts in lobbying for the black rights in her writing bore fruits when the apartheid regime decided to remove the prohibitions against her novels. She has since expressed her sensitive observation about the society in which she lives in writing.
The author has traversed the world with her humanity essays and plays. Additionally, she had received several accolades for her literary lifetime achievement. We will live to honor such an icon woman who had unique qualities of expressing her loving nature to her people. May she rest in peace.