17 February 2012

Alex La Guma

African Revolutionary Writers, Part 6b

Alex La Guma

Among the revolutionary writers of Africa, the South African novelist Alex La Guma started relatively early. He was only two years younger than Ousmane Sembène (and died 22 years before Sembène).

The document linked below contains two chapters from La Guma’s 1972 book “In the Fog of the Season's End”. Clearly it is a struggle novel: tough, realistic and committed.

Alex La Guma’s works included A Walk in the Night and Other Stories, (1962), And a Threefold Cord (1964), The Stone-Country (1967), In the Fog of the Season's End (1972), A Soviet Journey (1978), Time of the Butcherbird (1979).

Alex La Guma was the son of the outstanding South African revolutionary James La Guma, a member of the Communist Party of South Africa from the year that his son Alex was born – 1925.

It is hard to exaggerate the importance of work like this in the liberation struggle. It is work that leaves no doubt. The reader is compelled. As much as, or more than, the propaganda output of the liberation movement, the communist parties, and the anti-apartheid solidarity movements in the world, novels such as these planted an anchor for the struggle that could not be shifted.

These books need to be read; and new books need to be written, songs sung, pictures painted, et cetera, et cetera, to anchor the struggle again in such a way that it cannot be doubted. This is what Alex La Guma, among other novelists, did. He anchored the revolution in the hearts of the people.