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Reflecting India in Fiction: Praise for the Work of Imraan Coovadia and Jassy Mackenzie

Tales of the Metric SystemAnu Kumar recently wrote a very interesting article for Scroll sharing “everything you wanted to know about South African fiction by writers of Indian origin” – before, during and after apartheid.

Included in the rich list of relevant books are Imraan Coovadia’s The Wedding and his most recent novel, the 2015 Barry Ronge Fiction Prize shortlisted Tales of the Metric System.

“Yet another writer setting his tales in a tumultuous post-apartheid South Africa is Imraan Coovadia, whose books beginning with The Wedding cover a wide terrain,” Kumar writes. Read the article to find out more:

In 1983, J.M. Coetzee talked of South African literature “as a literature in bondage. It is less than human.” He meant the political burden that the literature of the region continues to carry, four decades later. Indian writing from the country faces not merely this political burden but also a historical one, one which is arguably different from other communities.

Indeed, identity, along with the history that shapes it, has for long played a big role in Indian writing from Africa in general and South Africa in particular, where the Indian population was discriminated against in different ways in an apartheid regime. The change promised, or what has fallen short in post-apartheid South Africa, is reflected in the writing of South African Indians in large measure.

The National, Abu Dhabi Media’s first English-language publication, published an equally interesting article, focusing on the way characters from the Indian diaspora have made their mark on international fiction, no longer being stereotyped in borderline offensive ways.

One of the authors who has achieved well-rounded representation, according to the article, is Umuzi author Jassy Mackenzie:

Random ViolenceStolen LivesThe Fallen

“Moving south of the African continent, we have Superintendent David Patel of the Johannesburg Central Police, the detective partner and (unaware love interest) of private investigator Jade de Jong, the daughter of his old police superior. Patel appears in three book in the series by Jassy Mackenzie – Random Violence (2010), Stolen Lives (2011) and The Fallen (2012)”

Read the article:

Politicians, business magnates, sports stars – the Indian diaspora has done well for itself in its new homes around the world and, on a literary basis, crossed another test of acceptance with their depiction in fiction as regular, non-stereotypical characters. From police inspectors to businessmen to cooks, Indians overseas are increasingly figuring in a range of tales by non-Indian writers.

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