Praised in South Africa as one of the most stunning début novels in decades, Sifiso Mzobe’s “Young Blood” is a page-turner that subtly mixes a crime fiction plot, hard-headed characters and latent social comment. Published by Kwela Books in 2010, the book won the prestigious Sunday Times Literary Award for best fiction – a rare honour for a first-time novelist in his early thirties. Booze, sex, drugs, stolen cars and easy money: “Young Blood” is a gangster story set in Umlazi, Durban’s biggest township.
Apartheid South Africa’s bully boy tactics on the sub-continent were always going to ricochet against the architects and, sadly, more viciously on the foot soldiers. In Deeper than Colour, the main character Angus Smith says “we were taught to hate”. This is what the system, aimed to make of the men in faded army fatigues who pulled the trigger in the old South African Defence Forces.