n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - : La Guma's neglected masterpiece?

Volume 23, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0258-2279
  • E-ISSN: 2219-8237



For a variety of reasons (including its publication history), Alex la Guma's second novel <i>And a Threefold Cord&lt;/i&gt; (1964) has long been neglected by readers and critics. This essay seeks to redress this situation by offering a reading of the novel that demonstrates its artistic integrity. Like avoids the overt propagandizing that arguably mars La Guma's later work. The political "message" of the text is shown to emerge organically from events that unfold in its presented world. is set in a Cape Flats shantytown, and it analyses the predicament of the shanty dwellers in terms of class inequality and economic exploitation, rather than in terms of racial discrimination. This ensures the novel's continuing relevance in a South Africa where far too many people are inadequately housed in ever-growing "informal settlements".

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