Wayfarers' Hymns by Zakes Mda
Penguin Random House South Africa, 21 October 2021
Paperback, 230 pages
About the book:
‘This book reads like a song.’ – Annicia Manyaapelo
Infused with rhythm and melody, Zakes Mda’s new novel invites you to travel from Lesotho’s Mountain Kingdom to the City of Gold through the history of famo. Famo music was born in the drinking dens of migrant mineworkers in Lesotho, where the men would sing to unwind after work, accompanied by the accordion, a drum and sometimes a bass.
Meet the boy-child Kheleke, a wandering musician, and his surprising sister Moliehi. Then sigh with pleasure at being reunited with Toloki, the professional mourner from Ways of Dying, and his beloved Noria. Passionate and ambitious, Kheleke is a weaver of songs, and his own story is intertwined with the incredible yet true social history of the music: the Time of the Concertina and the Accordion, the wars of the famo gangs, and the battle for control of illegal mines. The end is always a journey – and what a journey this is!