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Masande Ntshanga: The Reactive was Written During a Time of Personal Difficulty

The ReactiveMasande Ntshanga spoke to the Daily Dispatch about his newly released debut novel, The Reactive.

Ntshanga, who won the 2013 Pen International/New Voices Award for his short story “Space” (which you can read here), says The Reactive was two years in the making: “it took around a year to write, and then another to revise and prepare for publication”.

The Reactive is set in Cape Town, and centres around three friends, Lindanathi, Ruan and Cecelia, who sell illegal antiretrovirals. The death of Lindanathi’s younger brother, however, is the catalyst for the story:

“He has turned his back on his family when a message reminds him of home, he is then faced with the decision to continue his life in Cape Town or return to his family,” said Ntshanga, adding that secrecy, substance-abuse, family and redemption were themes that ran throughout the novel. He said the book was conceived during a time of not only personal difficulty, “but one in which I became increasingly receptive to the difficulties of those around me”.

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