and they didnt die




South Africans and others who want to, need to or ought to have an understanding of rural black South African life under the apartheid system can do no better than to read or reread Lauretta Ngcobo’s searing, moving and profoundly probing account enshrined in the unforgettable narrative of her 1990 novel, And they didn’t die. The ring of tragic defiance in that title points simultaneously to the daily, unrelenting battering that this policy inflicted on men, women and children, and to the very harsh costs exacted from all of them merely to stay alive – with their lives often reduced to (periods of) abject poverty and harmed by the ugly denials of black people’s human worth by the racism that the applications and consequences of the policy enshrined and rewarded