Niq Mhlongo

Niq Mhlongo was born in 1973 in Soweto, South Africa. He is the author of Dog Eat Dog and After Tears, both published by Ohio University Press in its Modern African Writing series. Mhlongo lives in Soweto.

Listed in: African Studies · African Literature · Fiction

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Dog Eat Dog · A Novel
By Niq Mhlongo

Dog Eat Dog is a remarkable record of being young in a nation undergoing tremendous turmoil, and provides a glimpse into South Africa’s pivotal kwaito (South African hip-hop) generation and life in Soweto. Set in 1994, just as South Africa is making its postapartheid transition, Dog Eat Dog captures the hopes—and crushing disappointments—that characterize such moments in a nation’s history.

“Mhlongo describes a searing world that is an ‘abject pit of red earth,’ an underworld of illegal activity and corruption, but one also suffused with music, from crowd-pleasing choruses in Sesotho to the soulful lyrics of Peter Gabriel, and ultimately, hope. Mhlongo’s freshly told novel is the story of a young man determined to never give up trying.”

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Bafana Kuzwayo is a young man with a weight on his shoulders. After flunking his law studies at the University of Cape Town, he returns home to Soweto, where he must decide how to break the news to his family. But before he can confess, he is greeted as a hero by family and friends. His uncle calls him “Advo,” short for Advocate, and his mother wastes no time recruiting him to solve their legal problems.

“A uniquely South African story, told in a fast, hip, and happening style that is synonymous with Soweto, where the author’s witty, dodgy, plain and simple characters play out their daily drama.”

Lucas Ledwaba, City Press