To celebrate Human Rights day in South Africa, we focus on writer and human rights advocate Kagiso Lesego Molope's poignant youth novel, This Book Betrays my Brother, published by Oxford University Press Southern Africa.
Set in the shifting South African landscape of the mid-1990s, the book delves into black middle-class life through the eyes of teenager Naledi, the narrator and protagonist. The story explores the bonds between Naledi and her charming and outgoing brother, Basi, whom she admires and who is revered and adored by the rest of his family and community. After she unexpectedly witnesses him committing a horrendous crime, she is burdened with a choice between sibling loyalty and breaking the silence on sexual violence.
This Book Betrays my Brother broaches many gender equality issues that are still far too prevalent in South Africa today, and already has prominent South African academics singing its praise. "In a country where we speak ad nauseam
about breaking the silence of sexualised violence, but seldom support those who speak out, Molope suggests that we need so much more than an obsession with silence and voice," comments Professor Pumla Gqola, Associate Professor at the WITS School of Language and Literature Studies.
"She insists that we need a willed betrayal of the violent beloved and to refuse complicity. Molope goes to the very heart of the beast in South African contemporary life with unflinching gaze."Looking for a new perspective
Of her latest novel, Molope states, "I've worked on issues of violence against women for many years, both with organisations and in documentary-making. I wanted to write about sexual violence from a very fresh perspective, as I feel that we've used one line - empowering girls - which in my opinion can only get us so far. I wanted to turn things around: have people ask questions about how far our sense of loyalty will go, who we're supposed to be loyal to, and how we are raising our sons. Events and conversations in South Africa inspired this book tremendously."
Celebrate Human Rights day with Oxford University Press Southern Africa and stand a chance to win a Kobo eReader preloaded with the book that has everyone talking. Visit www.oxford.co.za
to enter.About the Kagiso Molope
Kagiso Lesego Molope was born in 1976 in Atteridgeville, and graduated in English Literature from the University of Cape Town. Her first novel, Dancing in the Dust, was chosen as the South African English representative for the IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) Honours List in 2006, and has been translated into IsiZulu and IsiXhosa. Her second novel, The Mending Season, is also widely read in South African schools. She has worked as a counsellor and educator in human rights and violence against women.