A stranger’s stories


A Stranger at Home

Noni Jabavu, Makhosazana Xaba, Athambile Masola Noni Jabavu

Noni Jabavu, the first Black South African woman to publish books of memoir, was also one of the first African women who pursued a literary career.

At thirteen, Noni left South Africa to continue her schooling in England, returning only for short visits in the decades that followed.

In 1977, she embarked on a biography of her late father, the illustrious politician, educationist and writer, DDT Jabavu. To do her research, she had to return to South Africa. A travelling Black woman of means, with a British passport and loved ones dotted across the globe, Noni was rudely confronted by the indiscriminate cruelty and indignity of apartheid.

In this time, she wrote a series of columns for the Daily Dispatch, sharing her often astonishing daily experiences. These columns, compiled here for the first time, display her sharp intellect, her love for her family and her people as well as the intense alienation she often felt.

About the authors

Helen Nontando (Noni) Jabavu was a South African writer and journalist, one of the first African women to pursue a successful literary career and the first black South African woman to publish books of autobiography. Makhosazana Xaba is an anthologist, essayist, short story writer and poet. She has published numerous biographical fragments and academic essays on Noni Jabavu including two tributes published soon after her death. She is a researcher at the Centre for Race, Gender and Class at the University of Johannesburg and lives in Johannesburg.

Athambile Masola is a writer, researcher, poet and teacher at the University of Cape Town. She has a PhD from Rhodes University which focuses on black women’s historiography, intellectual histories and life writing with a focus on Noni Jabavu and Sisonke Msimang’s memoirs. She is a Mandela-Rhodes Scholar (2010) and lives in Cape Town.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave the field below empty!