Thami Mnyele’s life spanned the era of apartheid. He was born in the same year that the National Party won office and came of age in a time (the 1960’s) and a place (Johannesburg) that offered a sensitive young black artist like him little encouragement. In 1985, in the dying days of apartheid, he was killed in a raid by the South African army on Gaborone, Botswana, where he had gone into exile and joined the banned ANC. A reticent man, he played a vanguard role in efforts to throw open the doors of South African culture.

Thami Mnyele’s story sheds light on his tumultuous era from an unusual perspective, that of an artist and not a young lion. Not only does it help us understand the birth of a modern African aesthetic, but it also addresses the genesis of revolutionary commitment. What happened to make a man face the prospect of martyrdom and learn to accept it? How did this choice affect what he was able to express as an artist?

Diana Wylie’s beautifully written biography reveals the struggles inside and around a gentle South African artist as he remade himself into a revolutionary soldier, and brings fresh insight to our understanding of South Africa’s recent history.

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Authored by Diana Wylie and Published by Jacana of Johannesburg in 2008. Soft cover bound this First Edition copy is in Good condition, covered in plastic with an illustrated cover. The size of the book is 210x179x17mm, with 258 pages. ISBN 9781770093461. The book block is wavy from damp , but no sign of damp stains. Colour and b&w text illustrations.