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A Walk in the Night – Alex La Guma

April 28, 2022

African Writers Series

This volume is a novella about District Six, Cape Town, South Africa which was bulldozed into history by the apartheid regime. In the post-apartheid era, La Guma’s story is a stark reminder of the human casualties of a racist system. 

First published in 1962, A Walk in the Night is the story of a young man who is overtaken by the oppression of apartheid as he walks through the night to calm his nerves after being unjustly fired.

The story follows the main character Michael (Mikey) Adonis, who has just been fired from his job in a factory for talking back to his white boss. As Michael walks through his ghetto neighborhood throughout that night, he deals with the grim underside of his community.

 ‘when I portray South Africa I wish to show it as it actually is‘ – Alex La Guma

Known as one of South Africa’s foremost activist writers, Alex La Guma was born 20 February 1925 in District Six, Cape Town, South Africa.

La Guma’s vivid style, distinctive dialogue, and realistic, sympathetic portrayal of oppressed groups have made him one of the most notable South African writers of the 20th century. La Guma was awarded the 1969 Lotus Prize for Literature.

Dance of the La Gumas’

pays homage to literary giant Alex La Guma and his wife Blanche.

Sylvia Vollenhoven and Basil Appollis bring to life evocative stories and harrowing experiences depicted in La Guma’s works throughout the years.

DANCE OF THE LA GUMAS opened Sat April 9th at Artscape in Cape Town, with Elton Landrew, Rehane Abrahams & Jacques Theron.

The gripping theatre production ’Dance of the La Gumas; Revolution, Rumba & Romance’, celebrates the life and legacy of literary giant Alex Guma in commemoration of Freedom Month.

Appollis said that the La Gumas managed to thrive because of their love for each other and also by extension, their love for humanity.

“They suffered countless jail terms as well as torture in their own country. Even in exile they were followed and terrorised by the South African security police all the way to London. Their passion for each other and the cause of a just society kept them going.”

He added that South Africans would enjoy this show because it reflects who we are and where we come from as a nation.

The legendary Blanche La Guma – 95 years old – attended the opening night of Dance of the La Gumas

During the struggle to end apartheid, Blanche La Guma led a complex and demanding life as a nurse-midwife by day and underground activist–within a clandestine Communist cell–by night. Harassed, banned, and at one time imprisoned, Blanche worked tirelessly to support her family in Cape Town while providing safe houses for anti-apartheid leaders, such as Walter Sisulu and Govan Mbeki. Forced into exile in 1966, Blanche continued the fight for justice in London and, later, in Havana, where she mentored hundreds of African National Congress students sent to Cuba after the 1976 Soweto Uprising. This rare firsthand account chronicles Blanche’s life as a South African exile in Fidel Castro’s Cuba, traveling through the Communist world at large, and finally returning to her country with dignity and freedom. -Google Books 📚

Books by Alex La Guma include

A Walk in the Night and Other Stories… In the Fog of the Seasons’ End Time of the Butcherbird The Stone Country Memories of Home: The Writings… …Culture and Liberation: Exile Writings,…

After surviving three previous heart attacks, the famed novelist Alex La Guma, would finally succumb to the fourth attack in exile. He died on 11 October 1985 at the age of 61 in Havanna Cuba.

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