Mending The Broken Bridges: An Analysis of Familyhood in Zakes Mda’s Ways of Dying (1995)


  • Brightman Makoni Research Scholar, Critical Diversity Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa



African Culture, Broken Bridges, Familyhood, City, Village, Migration, Ways of Dying


This paper examines South African literature’s paradigm shift through Zakes Mda’s disruption of the dominant trope of apartheid by his focusing on black ordinary lives in Ways of Dying. The novel foregrounds the broken bridges of love and unity that used to link families before colonisation. Mda demonstrates how the rise of the city engendered the demise of the village where blacks lived as a unified community before migrating to the city whence they sink into individualism. The discussion focuses on family units during the period of death and dying to reveal broken links that happen to have a bearing to black familyhood. The focus of the argument is on how Mda depicts and mends the lost spirit of oneness among the blacks during the final stages of the anti-apartheid struggle and the transition to a democratic South Africa. The discussion highlights a new traditional African community built on forgiveness, care and unity.


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How to Cite

Makoni, B. . (2021). Mending The Broken Bridges: An Analysis of Familyhood in Zakes Mda’s Ways of Dying (1995). International Journal Online of Humanities, 7(1), 31–48.