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Welcome to Our Hillbrow: A Novel of Postapartheid South Africa
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Welcome to Our Hillbrow: A Novel of Postapartheid South Africa

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  194 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Welcome to Our Hillbrow is an exhilarating and disturbing ride through the chaotic and hyper-real zone of Hillbrow—microcosm of all that is contradictory, alluring, and painful in the postapartheid South African psyche. Everything is there: the shattered dreams of youth, sexuality and its unpredictable costs, AIDS, xenophobia, suicide, the omnipotent violence that often cu ...more
Paperback, 150 pages
Published March 8th 2011 by Ohio University Press (first published July 2001)
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Roberto
Benvenuti a Hillbrow è un romanzo basato sulla descrizione delle difficili condizioni di Hillbrow, un’area ghettizzata di Johannesburg, un tempo zona di soli bianchi, oggi luogo ibrido, meta degli immigrati dal resto dell’Africa, sovrappopolato, degradato, brulicante di vita ma anche segnato dalla morte e dalla violenza.

Usando diversi stili letterari come il realismo magico e il flusso di coscienza, l’autore descrive la vita della città dopo la fine dell’apartheid, affrontando temi come la xenof
...more
Wadlington Johnson
This was a really interesting book that I enjoyed a lot. It is very brief only containing 124 pages but the amount of substance that is fit into such a short book is extraordinary. It deals with topics such as xenophobia, racism, rumor, discrimination, poverty, AIDS, and crime all within its covers. Another thing that sets the book apart is the second person narration that talks not back to the reader but to the protagonist of the story who has already passed when the book begins. It chronicles ...more
Adam
Two stars: it was 'ok' at best.

This tale of life in and around Johannesburg failed to engage me.

The topics covered in this novel (including AIDS, race relations, human relations, and the 'new' South Africa) are treated far better in Dog Eat Dog by Nicholas Mhlongo.

One good thing about Welcome to Hillbrow is its brevity.
Jakey Gee
And so, South African season kicks off. I've been meaning to read this since picking it up in Joburg a few years ago and getting suddenly 'back into' things South African on reading Mr Flanery's (okay, he's American) wonderful novel, 'Absolution' (which itself reminded me of the unique conditions and rawness of SA literature - which is why I find it so darn interesting).

Here's a short, lyrical little number set among Hillbrow migrants, but focusing as much on where they've migrated from. It tak
...more
Joan
This is an excellent narrative of life in the inner city of Johannesburg, in early post-apartheid, South Africa. The story also tackles the issues and tensions between life in a rural community and in the city. The pressures of life, xenophobia, AIDS, drugs, suicide, love and relationships, family and people's perceptions of others' choices. It is a complex but easy read. I still do not know who the narrator is but each line of text has been carefully constructed to give substance to the many le ...more
Emily
I read this directly after reading Ways of Dying, and while I like the messages that it conveys and the story in general, I couldn't get over that it was written in the second person. The second person does help to put the reader in the main character's shoes, but it just isn't a point of view that I want to read for a whole novel. Over all, I much preferred Ways of Dying.
Catherine
Mpe's novel, told entirely in second person, begins to address the shift in ZA from country to city, and the effects that shift has on the populace. It does not shirk from telling the messy parts of life, and mentions necklacing as well as AIDS.

The book, at just over 120 pages, is a quick and thoughtful read. The characters are surprisingly engaging, given the very short length of the book; a hallmark of a good writer. I can't say it was an easy read, for all of its length, but it was the only
...more
Aaron
A depressing look at Hillbrow, a neighborhood that filled with immigrants after Apartheid ended. The book is filled with the tension between the village demands and the city demands and the toll AIDs has taken on South Africa.
Ryan Monaghan
A short read, looking into one of the most infamous areas of Johannesburg, and the disconnects existing between tradition and modernity, village and city, as it affects a small group of educated villagers living in a starkly different post-apartheid South Africa.

While I was not constantly interested in the story - you could read it in a day, but I spanned it over a month - it's a great read for a quick look at Hillbrow from the perspective of one who lived there in a turbulent time. I hope to p
...more
Dominique
The energy of this novel shocks on the first page, where the first walk through the Hillbrow neighborhood in Johannesburg is the pace you keep as you enter the lives of the strivers who people South Africa. Definitely a novel where you sigh with some sadness at the end... but one where you don't then want to go collapse in bed. Instead you want to feverishly start striving yourself. Beautiful.
Vera
A book with a huge potential that tackles homophobia, racism and AIDS. Written from different points of view, this novel is a satire of the South African segregated society in a post-Apartheid world that resembles a lot the pre-Apartheid period. I read the author died at only 34 and I can't help feeling sorry he didn't have time to write and share more with us.
Tuck
5 stars just because this was written in Sepedi and English both. but this version is just english. A novel of the old story of the country mouse moving to the big city and getting his college degree, getting aids, getting beat up, getting lots of women in the sack, getting shunned, getting robbed, losing his bearings.
Jack Ochs
went back and forth between 3 and 4 stars on this. as another reviewer said, writing was a bit "uneven" and definitely repetitive at times; still, there were sections of brilliance. sad, hopeful reflections on live and death in Johannesburg from an HIV positive writer living in Jozi.
Jennifer
A beautifully written book challenging so many traditional expectations of fictions— the way a reader expects a story to be narrated, narrative time, voice, etc. The book deals with post-apartheid South African life ( AIDS, poverty, crime) in a South African way.
Katherine Merrell
A great book about the struggles of life in South Africa. I had to read this for an English class, but I am so glad I did because it opened my eyes to the lives of the people in Africa. This post-modern text is a tragic but great read.
Jenny Land
I thought the writing was uneven and while the use of the 2nd person was really interesting, it wasn't used consistently and I found that confusing. Still, an interesting look inside a S. African township...
Stacy
A good novel about a college student coming of age in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, South Africa. Hillbrow was then and continues to be a very densely populated and high-crime area immensely affected by HIV/AIDS.
Mehak
Interesting use of second-person narrative, readable yet inexplicably alienating, warm yet critical.
Claire
A sketch of urban African life filled with the strains of sex, drugs, and poverty
Sarah
This book breaks your heart over and over again. Welcome to our Everywhere.
Aaron Kohn
Mentally trying and disturbing at times, but another perspective of reality.
N I
N I marked it as to-read
Dec 12, 2014
Tomba
Tomba marked it as to-read
Dec 11, 2014
Lynn
Lynn marked it as to-read
Nov 23, 2014
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