Fiction does not always enhance or deepen our understanding of complex realities of time and place. In his novel, The Madonna of Excelsior, set in his native South Africa, Zakes Mda has achieved this mixture admirably. Against the backdrop of political events of the pre- and post-Apartheid, he builds his narrative around the impact of one specific event and its aftermath on one small community, Excelsior. He captures the essence of life under Apartheid and the difficulties awaiting all when the regime ends.
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