Against her family's wishes, she develops a strong connection to him. An interesting look at what shapes a criminal. She also goes on a quest to finally humanise Mabegzo who was hated and abhorred by so many when he was alive. One Saturday afternoon, I was on my way home from the church youth meeting when I saw Mabegzo. Then he too is found lying dead in a pool of blood, two years after the death of her father. It is beautifully written and it is such a powerful story about healing. His death is haunting and as a grown woman with a successful career the author returns to find out the truth about his life and death, with the caveat that we can never really know the other.
Redi Thlabi does that, speaking straight into the heart of so many South Africans with her memories of Mabegzo, the gangster she befriended when still a child, who seemed to be hated and feared by so many. In response, Tlhabi said the names in the book were fictitious. Redi herself doesn't understand why she is drawn to Mabegzo and why, at eleven, she feels the way that she does for this man known to many as a menace. When I first picked up Redi's book I assumed it was about her. It was also at this time that her father - her hero - was violently murdered, his body discovered on the street, with one eye removed.
The Citizen has now investigated further and claims to have found no police record of a murder as described in the book. Set in Soweto, it explores life growing up in the township in apartheid South Africa. But more than anything, I was reminded of the common human need to connect, and to belong. It was soci I was not keen to pick up this book. It was a time when Soweto was under siege from two forces - apartheid and endemic, normalized crime. Redi herself doesn't understand why she is drawn to Mabegzo and why, at eleven, she feels the way that she does for this man known to many as a menace.
I read that the book will be made into a movie! Though he was a ruthless criminal, he was full of love for Redi and her love and acceptance of him, made him want to be a better man in a misguided kind of way. She adored him, and he, her, so when she witnessed his body lying in the street, the life stabbed out of him and his one eye gouged out, she was acutely traumatised. Where do these criminals come from? Her decision to go back into her past to try to find out about her friend and to make sense of what he became probes complex issues, how our names affect us and can influence the way we are seen. And all is not black and white. The plight of woman and children in townships, the importance of open, loving families, about the power and influence of adults on the youth. I am looking forward to reading more of her works.
Thlabi answers these questions in a warm yet perceptive way. The perpetrators were never found, and the neighbourhood continued to talk about how he had to be buried without his eye. A rumoured gangster, murderer and rapist, he is a veritable 'jack roller' of the neighbourhood. The lines between personal space and boundaries are blurred when people live in such close quarters. It was society that failed them.
But once well into the book it became clear that the heroine of 'Endings and Beginnings' is Imelda, Mabegzo's mother - gang-raped and impregnated as a teenager, exiled to Lesotho by shamed parents, and then deprived of her son for the rest of his short, painful life. She examines the hollowness in both of their lives and how this bonded them. The story is well written and the author has great empathy. Instead it takes you onto the mean streets, where the jackrollers rule with violence and where young women face the constant threat of sexual predation. With our horrendous statistics of crime and violence, Redi Tlhabi exposes many layers of damage i With this book, the reader soon realizes that the author has a special gift for empathy.
It was also at this time that her father - her hero - was violently murdered, his body discovered on the street, with one eye removed. Endings and beginnings is Redi's quest to find out the truth about the circumstances surrounding her father's death. Redi herself doesn't understand why she is drawn to Mabegzo and why, at eleven, she feels the way that she does for this man known to many as a menace. It is more than the tale of an unlikely friendship though, and how families are made and destroyed. Yet Tlhabi manages to balance the darkness with the light of individuals who put their necks out and offered support , love and goodness at a time when it seemed that decency and humanity had been lost.
Her revelations do not in any way excuse who and what he was, but they go a long way in shedding light on the scourge that is violence in our societies and why young black men are consumed by anger. A bit of an e An interesting look at what shapes a criminal. What made Mabegzo as he was? Your own responses to book Endings and Beginnings: A Story of Healing - additional followers will be able to make a decision in regards to e-book. In the process of returning to her childhood home Thlabi gives real insight into township life, insight that comes from one who lived there, and who still knows Soweto well. Who raised them and was there ever a time in their lives when they had hopes and dreams and their laughter filled the air? My fervent belief that social conditions create the monsters who terrorise our lives and make us prisoners in our own country has made me curious about their background. Read it in two sittings. As the book solves this tragic jigsaw pu Redi Thlabi has won the Sunday Times Alan Paton award for this brilliant book.