Ezekiel Mphahlele Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Ezekiel Mphahlele’s 1962 collection of essays, The African Image, was an important early discussion of the “African personality.” His autobiography was published in two volumes, Down Second Avenue (1959) and Afrika My Music: An Autobiography (1984), and brought international attention to the oppression of blacks in South Africa. He has edited or coedited important volumes, including the landmark anthology African Writing Today (1967), Perspectives on South African English Literature (1992), and Seasons Come to Pass: A Poetry Anthology for Southern African Students (1994).


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Ezekiel Mphahlele is widely considered the most significant black South African writer of the twentieth century and the most balanced critic of African literature. His autobiographical novel The Wanderers (1971) was awarded the African Arts magazine prize in 1972. He received a Carnegie Foundation grant in 1980 and has been awarded honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Natal at Pietermaritzburg, the University of Denver, and the University of Cape Town.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Akosu, Tyohdzuah. The Writing of Ezekiel [Es’kia] Mphahlele, South African Writer: Literature, Culture and Politics. Lewiston, N.Y.: Mellen University Press, 1995. An important overview of the critical reception of Mphahlele’s work and an assessment of his literary achievements. Akosu claims that aesthetic questions about African writing are inappropriate because they do not take into account the sociopolitical environment in which the work is created. Mphahlele’s work should be analyzed in terms of its value as protest against apartheid.

Barnett, Ursula A. Ezekiel Mphahlele. Boston: Twayne, 1976. Although published before Mphahlele’s return to South Africa from exile in 1977, this volume is still the best introduction to Mphahlele’s early and middle life and work. Includes a chronology, biography, and close reading of the major writings.

Egejuru, Phanuel Akubueze. Towards African Literary Independence: A Dialogue with Contemporary African Writers. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1980. Interwoven interviews with several important writers, including Mphahlele, on the importance of African literature for Africans and for Westerners. Mphahlele discusses the challenges of being both an African and an exile, and of writing for an African audience but being published and read by Westerners.

Hodge, Norman....

(The entire section is 498 words.)