Life wasn’t always this hard for fourteen-year-old Mvelo, who lives with her mother, Zola in the shacks on the margins of Mkhumbane township. There were good times when they lived with Sipho, Zola’s lawyer boyfriend. But when the beautiful and mysterious Nonceba Hlathi arrives, Zola has to make a choice. She also has her pride. Now their social grants have been discontinued: the one for Mvelo being underage reared by a 31-year-old single mother, and the other for Zola because of her status. And there is also an elephant growing in their shack as the terrible thing that happened that night in the revival tent remains unspoken.
Do not go gentle
In her second novel, Futhi Ntshingila once again introduces us to a cast of strong women who have little, but are determined to shape their own destinies.
In this novel, Ntshingila depicts the intricacies of life in a squatter camp. She shows how the need for love, security and a sense of belonging cause the lives of the most unlikely people to cross paths. Do Not Go Gentle is a compelling, intense read which portrays how diverse characters sway between solace and disenchantment as they engage with each other.The storyline leaps beyond the boundaries of race, class and borders.
Those who appreciate realistic fiction will enjoy this novel in which young female characters learn to love themselves, no matter the circumstances
Full of heart and hope despite the emotionally challenging subject matter… A haunting, all-too-true story with plenty of compelling depth.
“Equal parts comedic and tragic.”
“A gut-wrenching novel.. a book worth reading.”
“This story grabs the reader by the hair and drags them through the roughest and dirtiest places that our almost broken country has given birth to… Told in the plainest language, this story unfurls unexpectedly into a drama of redemption. I can’t remember when last a book made me cry from happiness.”
“Ntshingila takes what could be mere tearjerking manipulation and turns Mvelo’s path into something at once dramatic and prosaic. In other words, a 14-year-old pregnant by rape, orphaned by AIDS, and uncertain of her future sounds and feels like a full human instead of a line in a news story. Highly recommend.”
“It is a story about joy and hope and courage, and what it means to lift up others and be lifted oneself, and how one young girl found her voice in a world seemingly determined to take it away.”
“The tale doesn’t shy away from the reality of AIDS, poverty, or rampant sexual abuse, but instead of making those subjects its sole focus, Ntshingila folds them in with the other realities of life: love, joy, and hope. Ntshingila’s lyrically wrought North American debut is a slim yet satisfying novel sure to trigger a wide range of emotions.”
“[This] is a social novel, more in line with the works of twentieth century writers like Upton Sinclair, John Steinbeck and Richard Wright, than crusaders of the modern era. Like those earlier works, it is written with a dual purpose – to both entertain and inform.” – Tara Cheesman, Necessary Fiction