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And They Didn't Die

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  100 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Drawing on firsthand experience, distinguished South African writer Lauretta Ngcobo depicts the lives of rural women in South Africa, paying homage to the extraordinary courage and remarkable endurance of these unsung heroines of the struggle against apartheid.

Set in the barren Sabelweini Valley in the 1950s to 1980s, the novel centers around one young woman, Jezile, whose
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 1st 1999 by The Feminist Press at CUNY (first published 1990)
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Oct 16, 2012 Dominique rated it really liked it
This is the first novel I read when arriving in South Africa and I have to say I couldn't have hoped for a better entry point for my imagination. This book is a strange combination of re-narrating history through emblematic fictions. The heroine is someone whose personality is almost impossible to describe because in many ways she serves as a vehicle to experience the hopes and trials that a tribal woman and her family encountered in apartheid South Africa. But there's also something a bit heavy ...more
Jan 02, 2008 SJane rated it really liked it
I read this book with the Nelson Mandela Park PS book club. We had the incredible honor of discussing the novel with a group of women from South Africa who were visiting Toronto on a month-long exchange with students from a South African school. They offered useful insight in to the cultural differences and painful accuracies of this novel which highlights womens' contributions and sacrifices for equality in apartheid South Africa.
Lauretta Ngcobo illuminates the complexities of life in rural South Africa during the apartheid regime. And They Didn't Die tells the story of a nation through the experiences of women as they raise families, oppose racist oppression, cope with dire poverty while attempting to maintain their traditional social structures in a changing world. Deeply moving.
Apr 15, 2012 Heather rated it it was amazing
I thought it was a very stirring account of what women in Apartheid era rural South Africa had to endure. I felt really sympathetic to Jezile's plight and Ngcobo captures the nuances of their endurances very well.
Nov 10, 2008 Andrea rated it really liked it
Shelves: africa
This is a book about a dark period in South African history. I read it during post election violence in Kenya, Feb. 2008. Somehow the rural South African women in this book gave me hope and courage. The author weaves historical truth with engaging characters.
Sep 11, 2014 Nancy rated it really liked it
A disturbing and powerful look at the resilience of women during the era of Aparteid in South Africa. With a variety of sources suppressing their personal freedom, the women in this novel maintain a trueness to themselves and a strong determination to do what it takes find life's importance.
Sara Jane
Jun 26, 2011 Sara Jane rated it liked it
It gave me a better understanding of life under Apartheid, but at the same time, it was really typical of its my-life-sucks-because-I-am-not-a-white-male genre.
Nov 10, 2011 Emma rated it it was ok
Shelves: dumped
It's one of those books you read out of respect but not for love of literature. Ndcobo would maybe remembered as early feminist in Southern Africa but not as inspiring writer.
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500 Great Books B...: And They Didn't Die - Lauretta Ngcobo 1 7 Jul 25, 2014 06:42PM  
Lauretta Ngcobo (born 1931) was a South African novelist and essayist. After being in exile between 1963 and 1994, she lived in Durban until her death in November 2015.

The daughter of Simon Gwina, she was born in Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal, grew up there, and was educated at the University of Fort Hare. She married Abednego Bhekabantu Ngcobo, a founder and member of the executive of the Pan Africanist C
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“From the day whe arrived at her husband's home, no one called her by her name.” 2 likes
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