May 12, 2014
A Walk in the Night by Alex La Guma
Born in 1925 Cape Town, Alex La Guma is a writer, a leader of the South African Coloured People's organization and a Defendant in the Treason Trial. Graduated High school and then joined the Young Communist League in 1947. He then became a member of the Communist Party a year later. He wrote for the new age from 1955. He wrote many articles for fighting talk in which he captured the atmosphere of the trial proceedings. He was placed under 24 hour house arrest in 1962, and was detained again in 1963. In 1966, he eaves Africa and wrote novels and short stories and received the 1969 Lotus Prize for Literature. In 1972, he edited the Apartheid: A collection of writings on South African Racism by South Africans. He was considered one of the most South African's major twentieth century writers. A walk in the Night was his first book based on a nature of District sex, Cape Town. La Guma was an important political figure as well. Being charged with treason, banned, house arrested and eventually forced into exile, he was chief representative of the African National Congress (ANC) in the Caribbean at the time of his death in 1985.
South Africa is a country blessed with an abundance of natural resources including fertile farmlands and unique mineral resources. South African mines are world leaders in the production of diamonds and gold as well as strategic metals such as platinum. It was colonized by the English and Dutch in the seventieth century. The English domination of the Dutch descendants resulted in the Dutch establishing the new colonies of Orange Free State ad Transual. The diamonds in these lands around 1900 resulted in an English invasion which sparked the Boer War. Until the 1940's, an uneasy power sharing between the two groups held sway when the Afrikaner National Party was able to gain a strong majority. Strategists in the National party invented apartheid as a meaning to cement their control over the economic and social system. The aim of the apartheid was to maintain while domination while extending racial separation. Beginning in the 1960's, a plan of Grand Apartheid was executed, emphasizing territorial separation and police repression. The Enactment of Apartheid law in 1948, racial discrimination was institutionalized. Race laws touched every aspect of social life, including a prohibition between marriage, between non-whites and whites, and the sanctioning of "whites only" jobs. The Population Registration Act required that all South Africans are racially classified into one of three categories: white, black (African), and or Coloured (mixed decent).
In 1951, the Bonto Authorities Act established a basis for ethnic government in African reserves known as homelands. The homelands were independent states to which each African was assigned by the government. All of the political rights, including voting was held by an African who was restricted to the designated homeland. The idea was that they would be citizens of homeland and lose their citizenship in South Africa and any right involvement with the South African parliament. The homeland administration refused the nominal independence, maintaining pressure for political rights within the country as a whole. Nevertheless, Africans living in the homelands needed passports to enter South Africa. So they were basically considered aliens in their own country.
Alex la Guma, very first novel presents the struggle against oppression by a group of characters in Cape Town's toughest district and the moral dissolution of a young man who is unjustly fired from his job. Being published in 1962, La Guma has a high reputation that is based on his vivid style, his Coloured dialogue, and his ability to present sympatically and realistically people living under sordid and oppressive circumstances. This book reflects the plight of the South Africans and American blacks, a plight which has...
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