Zakes Mda is a South African writer, painter, composer and film maker. He commutes between South Africa and the United States of America, working as a professor of creative writing at Ohio University, as a beekeeper in the Eastern Cape, a dramaturge at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg, and a director of the Southern African Multimedia AIDS Trust in Sophiatown, Johannesburg. Zoopy caught up with Mda whilst on a book tour promoting 'Black Diamond' in South Africa.
More about 'Black Diamond':
In 'Black Diamond', Zakes Mda tackles every conceivable South African stereotype, skillfully (and with the lightest touch) turning them upside down and exposing their ironies, often hilariously. This is a clever, quirky novel that captures the essence of contemporary life in Gauteng and will resonate with all South Africans.
Kristin Uys is a tough Roodepoort magistrate who lives alone with her cat. She is on a one-woman crusade to wipe out prostitution in the town for reasons that have personal significance for her. Although she is unable to convict the Visagie Brothers, Stevo and Shortie, on charges of running a brothel, she manages to nail Stevo for contempt of court and gives him a six-month sentence.
From Diepkloof Prison, the outraged Stevo orchestrates his revenge against the magistrate, aided and abetted by his rather inept brother Shortie and his erstwhile nanny, Aunt Magda, who believes mass action will force the powers that be to release Stevo. Kristin receives menacing phone calls and her home is invaded and vandalised. Even her cat is threatened. The chief magistrate insists on assigning a bodyguard to protect her.