Mating Birds has 86 ratings and 16 reviews. Hassan said: StarsI started this book on the train on my way to Zell am See, Austria and coincidentally. Mating Birds: A Novel [Lewis Nkosi] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. From a prison cell, an ironic, supremely rational young Black man. This thesis will examine the trope of the outsider figure in Lewis Nkosi’s two novels, Mating Birds () and Underground People (). Since both novels are.

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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. India Abstract Matig African white minority rulers implemented racial discrimination on the basis of colour also known as apartheid.

Lewis Nkosi was a South African Black who fought against apartheid through writings. He was a critic, essayist, and novelist. Ndi Sibiya, the narrator is awaiting death for the alleged rape of a white girl with whom he claims to have a muted love affair across the segregated beach.

The narration is an attack on apartheid, the political system and judiciary. Nkosi uses existentialist and postmodernist techniques to present the story.

Lewis Nkosi – Wikipedia

This paper attempts to examine Matting Birds as an invective against apartheid. South Africa has unique identity and a distinct character. The colonizers in South Africa, strengthened with the passage of time and introduced apartheid, otherwise known as racial segregation. Inthe Dutch established a post at Cape, which later came to be called Cape Nkoei. The people who worked as sailors for the post, majority of them were Dutch belonged to the Calvinist Reformed Church of the Netherlands, and there were others too-Germans and Scandinavians.

Later many slaves were imported from Madagascar and Indonesia. The settlers married these slaves, and the mixed descendants came to be called as Cape Coloureds. The settlers expanded and engaged themselves in clashes with the natives. The settlers drove the natives from their traditional lands defeating them in several wars, using modern weapons and tactics.

The resistance by the natives, and clashes between the natives and the settlers continued sporadically into the 19th Century. Britain, during wars with Napoleon took control of Cape Town, with the Dutch declining as a military power.

The British encouraged large number of their citizens to mahing in South Africa. Boers resented the presence of many new comers from Matiing. New comers had a different language, different religion and different ideas about bbirds treatment of native population. This resulted in several clashes among the Boers, the English and the Zulus the natives. As the rulers were British, the presence of many of its citizens increased, and three distinct groups emerged, the Boers of Dutch origin, the English and the natives, apart from the Coloured.

The English were highly urbanized people, engaging in trade; politics, mining ibrds Vol. Boers believed in matingg God-given order of the races, and thought themselves superior to the natives. The dissatisfaction ,ating Boers with the British continued, and established two independent republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State and ran them independently.

The Boers preferred to be called Afrikaners. After the Boer wars, the union of South Africa was formed, by joining the other British ruled areas with the newly captured Boer republics.

They disgruntled Afrikaners, found space in the Nationalist party headed by General Lesis. United Party ruled the union of South Africa until Though the United Party wanted to spread industrialization, bring social reforms, gradual or partial equalization of races in South Africa, the Nationalist Party opposed equality of races and wanted to control immigration.


The victory of Nationalist Party brought everything upside down. With the Nationalist Party assuming power init began implementing racial segregation or apartheid as a state policy.

It passed kewis laws, clearly demarcating society on racial lines. The Public Amenities Act segregated beaches and parks. Numerous laws like Mixed Marriages Act, which prohibits marriages between various racial groups, were passed.

According to this law, the marriage between persons belonging to various racial groups was not valid; those who violated this law were tried and sentenced to imprisonment.

Immorality Act was passed to prevent persons from having love and sexual relations, with people belonging to other races, thus declaring it a crime in South Africa. Sex and love became subjects of the state with severe restrictions on the personal life of the people. The South African government with its perverse race laws seems to have created some charm, blacks for nkodi and vice-versa.

The amting for what is forbidden by the law jkosi a dominant theme in the literature of South Africa. Examination of South African fiction shows that, usually Black males coveting the body of a white woman, and white woman having a hidden desire for the black male body is a recurrent theme in literature.

The themes were based on inter- racial love affairs, sexual relations, the violence in these relations, and it is also tragedy in the lives of the people, who suffered under the law. The colour bar affected all the writers, blacks and whites alike.

Alan Paton and Nadine Gordimer presented inter-racial relations, with moral overtones. When it comes to black writers like Alex La Gama and Ezekiel Mphahlele, their characters, bkrds were victims of racial oppression, they were not heroic characters fighting the oppressors and apartheid, but their endurance of suffering makes them heroic.

Many in their portrayal of fight against apartheid depicted inter racial relations; became either too vehement or monotonous. Lewis Nkosi admits this and says that birs would hate stock characters. Nkosi for over four decades tried every genre criticism, poetry, short story, drama, cinema production, except novels.

Probably for this reason, Nkosi did not attempt writing fiction until s. He published his first novel in Still Beating the Drum: Prior to Nkosi, many writers treated the theme of inter-racial relations in their works, repeating the same; he put the theme in a novel way. The Act of Immorality and the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act continued, till s and the transgressions continued, along with it. Against this background, the story of Mating Birds, takes place.

New York Times, selected Mating Birds, as one of the top books published in It was translated into ten languages, and received critical attention in Europe and America.

The novel was awarded Macmillan Silver Pen Prize in Lynne Hanley, writing on Apartheid and the state, identifies: To sustain and reproduce its white ruling class, the apartheid state must impose and enforce a ban on sexual intercourse between white women and black men… Since apartheid cannot survive the erosion of its rigorous control of sexuality and procreativity of the white women, her body becomes both the property of the state and a terrain of resistance to the state.

Defilement of a white woman by black man becomes for the black man, an act of revolution, while for the white man, it is a crime against the state. Only for the woman is it a crime, above all, against her own person. Halley However, one thing is certain; Lewis Nkosi takes a decisive break from the tradition of writing novel on apartheid. Lucy Graham finds the Mating Birds as: In a doubly transgressive gesture, the novel not only presents an account of desire that subverts the perversion or peculiar pere-version of apartheid, but it also performs a deconstruction of the mythology that has sought to retain and naturalize racism Graham: Nkosi narrates the story through a character named Ndi Sibiya, a native in South Africa.


The entire novel is the mediation of the narrator about his life, which he writes as a story, before his execution. The story takes place in the first person narration, or conscious narration. The novel has a dramatic beginning. The narrator declares that he is going to be executed for the rape of a white girl, and then recollects his childhood, youth and the events that led to the alleged crime. This entire story is narrated to a psychologist, who comes to interview him.

The psychologist Doctor Emile Dufre has come from Europe to unravel the mystery of the unconsciousness of a black male towards a white woman. He repeatedly asks same questions.

Sibiya narrates the story to psychologist Doctor Dufre.

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While awaiting execution in the prison, he narrates and writes his life story. The protagonist indulges in digressions which throw light on the socio-political conditions in South Africa. His foregrounding of the story allows for multiple interpretations of the text.

This metafiction used by Nkosi, gives the impression the novel, as a post-modernist one. The prison, from which Sibiya narrates his story and awaits execution, is a metaphor of the limitation of his communication, writing lwis physical movement under post-colonial situation. Ndi Sibiya, the narrator and protagonist, is born and brought up in a Zulu village called Mzimba.

The Village is a quiet one with steep hills, and deep valleys and dotted by Zulu mud- huts. When Sbiya is young, life at Mzimba is slow and easy- going. The land is fertile they have cattle; they grow enough to eat and to spare. His father is a powerful headman, and has control over the entire household.

He is a conservative man and believes in the power of ancestral matinf. Although his mother Nonkanyazi revers her husband, she is of a restless and adventurous spirit, shrewd and energetic. However, they become true. The villages, where their ancestors spilled blood, and were buried, are forcibly removed.

Their huts are bulldozed, and those who obstructed are beaten and arrested. Nonkanyazi, weeps that grief, not old age that has killed him. With his death, the family splits up.

Upon arrival in Durban, Sibiya and his mother take shelter in a shack in Cato Manor, a slum five miles away from Durban. There are innumerable shacks, without any sanitation and water. Here too they face the threat of evacuation. Black workers, who were oppressed racially and economically, greedily consume this dangerous drink, to forget their misery.

Drinking continues till late nights, and brawls ensue and result in fights and deaths. African women often surrender themselves to their drinking customers, to meet the family needs. Sibiya remarks that city life of Durban has a devastating effect and can change everyone.