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Real and Imagined Readers: Censorship, Publishing and Reading under Apartheid

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Prodigal Daughters: Stories of South African Women in Exile
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Price: R 210
Publication Date: 2012-04-16
Binding: Softcover
ISBN: 978 1 86914 234 6
Width: 170
Height: 240
Pages: 240

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Struggle of exiled women
Prodigal Daughters: Stories of South African Women in Exile

Review by Myrtle Ryan
Sunday Tribune, 27 May 2012

THE most famous struggle wife in SA was Winnie MadikizelaMandela, but there were many others with lower profiles who walked the long, hard road of exile.

Lauretta Ngcobo, who edited Prodigal Daughters: Stories of South African Women in Exile, and who features in the book, says it was Thokozile mazulu Chaane – another exile – who inspired her to bring together the stories of several such women.

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Review by MJ Daymond

KZN Literary Tourism

Tuesday, 06 November 2012


The stories told by the seventeen women who contribute to this compelling volume have two things in common. First is the fact that they have all returned to South Africa, the country they regard as ‘home’, after as many as thirty years of being forced to live in another country. Secondly, they had to find within themselves the strength to survive: “Exile is a vast desert” (82) says Baleka Mbete, and “Exile is about finding the resilience to survive anything” (154) says Ellen Pheko.

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Review by Sue Rakoczy IHM
St Joseph’s Theological Institute, Cedara
Grace & Truth 2013/1

This is a powerful book which tells stories too long unknown. After democracy and freedom in 1994, it gradually emerged that during the Struggle women’s and men’s experiences had often been vastly different. The years of the most intense opposition to apartheid in the 60s, 70s and 80s coincided with the rise of feminist movements in the West. Yet the dignity and equality of women was an issue on the far back burner of the South African liberation movements. Political liberation was first and foremost.


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During the years of apartheid rule in South Africa, many women ‘skipped’ the country and fled into exile to evade harassment, detention, imprisonment and torture by state security forces. Leaving the country of their birth, many took calculated, though dangerous, risks to cross borders. Once in exile, sometimes for several decades, many experienced discrimination, danger, deprivations and the stresses associated with being a foreigner in a strange land. All lived with the distant yet distinct hope that they would one day be able to return to a liberated homeland.


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