The Broken River Tent

The Broken River Tent



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The Broken River Tent is a novel that marries imagination with history. 

It is about the life and times of Maqoma, the Xhosa chief who was at the forefront of fighting British colonialism in the Eastern Cape during the nineteenth century. The story is told through the eyes of a young South African, Phila, who suffers from what he calls triple “N” condition—neurasthenia, narcolepsy, and cultural ne plus ultra. This gives him access to the analeptic memory of his people.

After being under immense mental pressure, he crosses the mental divide between the living and the dead and is visited by Maqoma. They engage in different conversations about cultural history, literature, religion, the past, and contemporary South African life.

The Broken River Tent was the University of Johannesburg Debut Novel Prize winner in 2019 and was longlisted for the 2019 Sunday Times Literature Prize for Fiction.