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Sometimes there is a Void – Memoirs of an Outsider
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Sometimes there is a Void – Memoirs of an Outsider

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  82 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Sometimes There Is A Void is a remarkable record of the life of awardwinning novelist and playwright Zakes Mda.

Eminently readable, Mda weaves past and present together to give us an intensely personal story of the writer’s development in life, in love and in learning. Forced to follow his father, PAC ‘founding spirit’ A P Mda, into exile in Lesotho (then still Basutoland)
Hardcover, First, 559 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Penguin Books
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Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully written book which spans the past 60 years of South Africa (and Lesotho's) history as experienced by the writer and artist Zakes Mda. His family was deeply involved in the struggle against apartheid - his father was a founding member of the PAC and ANCYL and they went to live in exile in Leotho in the early 1960's.

He has been very involved in the cultural and arts world in Lesotho and South Africa during the years and his plays are performed across the world.
Scott Schneider
Jun 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Reading this book made me realize how little I know about African literature. It made me want to read more of Mda's books. This autobiography is part personal journey, detailing all the drinking, carousing and women in his life. Part of it is political evolution and the anti-apartheid movement, which his father played a more central role than he did, though there are some fascinating scenes with Mandala. The third part is cultural, showing the cultural richness of Africa. It's funny how Africans ...more
Mish Middelmann
Mar 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Long and rambling, full of disarming honesty. Disappointing to one who loves his novels. Disappointing in the sense that he radically demystifies himself, not pulling punches in describing his own long periods of despair, drinking and womanising - firmly taking himself off the hero's pedestal. Perhaps more disappointing in that the book feels like a rough draft - too long, and ending in the midst of a rave about a messy divorce the story of which would have benefited from the perspective of time ...more
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Zanemvula Kizito Gatyeni Mda is a very vivid and meticulous writer who brings the reader to his world and I cant wait to get home to read the next chapter. Now I’m interested to read more of his work.
Siyamthanda Skota
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Worth a 10 Star rating!
Puleng Hopper
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Glen Retief
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
A sprawling and undisciplined book--frequently Mda admits he forgot to mention something earlier, but instead of bothering to then insert this information in its correct place, he just ploughs forward. So Void has the feeling of a rough draft written in a hurry. Nevertheless, it's full of fascinating stories and reflections on an extraordinary literary and political life, and the warmth of its humanity is palpable.
Wayne Jordaan
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quite a comprehensive insight into the life of the author. At times, in fact, I thought he shared too much. I really enjoyed the book, not just because of the great penmanship, but throughout I could listen to a soundtrack of the music that featured in his life.
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the book from Chapter 5 onwards. The ending was a little abrupt. He has had an interesting life so far, which makes for an enjoyable read.
Catherine Woodman
The subtitle of this memoir is "Memoirs of an Outsider", and at the end of the day, I am not exactly sure what he is referring to. The obvious answer might be that due to his father's political activities he grew up outside of South Africa in neighboring Lesotho. His is a typical African family with a complicated web of inter-relationships, but despite that Mda felt like he had been abandoned by his father, or at least he was not loved enough by him. That might be the outsider status that he ref ...more
Diane Brown
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: african-books
I love to read memoirs and this one intrigued me and did not disappoint me at all. It sure does explain the man behind the writing. He writes about his life, links this to political situation at the time in Lesotho and in South Africa as his father is one of the founders of the PAC. I do really like the thinking and perspective in this book, because it resonates with me on both a personal and political level.

HE also speaks about his life in Ohio as a Professor there. This book is an important re
Michelle Commeyras
Jun 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Zakes comes across as very open about his life, his foibles, his talents, his loves, his losses. In reading his memoir I liked him and wondered why I was unaware of his writing. He's a playwright and novelist. He admits to drawing heavily from his own life experiences. I particularly appreciated his account of living in two different his home country of South Africa and the other his adopted home of Athens, Ohio where he is on the faculty of Ohio University.
Sinovuyo Sidimba
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Excellent read!!
Though dominated by his battles with his ex-wife, this memoir is a very intriquing read from Zakes Mda. I was however let down by the writing, definitely not his best work but still recommended.
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the best memoir I have read. Bra Zakes is simply a brilliant story teller.
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Zakes Mda is the pen name of Zanemvula Kizito Gatyeni Mda, a novelist, poet and playwright.

Although he spent his early childhood in Soweto (where he knew political figures such as Walter and Albertina Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela) he had to finish his education in Lesotho where his father went into exile since 1963. This change of setting also meant a change of language for Mda: from i