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The title of the story Sizwe Banzi is Dead refers not to a physical death, but the death of a man's identity.
Sizwe Banzi is a man from King William's Town, a place where he has left his family in order to obtain work. Sizwe has a friend named Zola in New Brighton where he first stays upon arriving, but Zola ultimately sends Sizwe to live with Buntu: Sizwe has been told that he must leave New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, in three days because he does not have a job.
Buntu, who turns out to be very supportive, tries to help Sizwe find a job. He also takes him out for a drink, and it is at this time as they leave the bar that they find a dead body and decide to steal the corpse's identity for Sizwe so he can use the dead man's papers to start a job, and a have chance at a new life for himself and his family.
If not for Buntu's help, Sizwe would not finally be able to make a living to support himself and eventually his loved ones. It is only with Buntu's help that Sizwe is able to take advantage of the unexpected papers from the pockets of a dead man.
Sizwe's wife and children are back in King William's town. Sizwe rejects Buntu's suggestion of working in the mines there, as it is unsafe. Certainly Sizwe cannot provide for his family if he is injured or killed. When Sizwe worries about the impact of this new identity on his family, Buntu assures him that he can remarry his wife.
In the play, Sizwe is writing a letter to his wife, and has stopped at the photographer's studio to get his picture taken. His motivation and concern throughout the story show how much he cares for his family.
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