Ukuvuka kwam ekufeni (ePub) | Autobiography
“One regret I have from publishing my book in English is that my mother and grandmother, who both speak and write Xhosa fluently, can’t understand it – along with the children in my community.” – Thembelani Ngenelwa at a debate on mother tongue publishing at the Cape Town Book Fair, 2007
It is for this reason that Kwela Books decided to publish Thembelani's highly acclaimed book The Day I Died in his home language.
Thembelani Ngenelwa is a personable 20-something guy who can’t find a good job in Cape Town. Like many of his peers, he goes to Jo’burg in search of work and to catch up with old friends. After leaving a friend’s house in an informal settlement one night, Thembelani and three companions are attacked by a group of gunmen. Running for their lives, the friends scatter in all directions, and Thembelani is chased after and shot five times at point-blank range, before being dragged over a railway crossing to die.
Having sustained such serious injuries – and after being in a coma for four days – there is little hope that Thembelani will survive. Through his own tenacity, and the support of his friends and the hospital staff, he makes a full recovery.
This is a remarkable true story of surviving the brutal and senseless violence that erupts daily on South Africa’s streets.