Coconut by Kopano Matlwa


*Author, coconut*

Kopano Matlwa (born 1985) is a South African writer and doctor, known for her novel Spilt Milk, which focuses on the South Africa’s “Born Free” generation, and Coconut, her debut novel, which addresses issues of race, class, and colonization in modern Johannesburg. Coconut was awarded the European Union Literary Award in 2006/2007 and also won the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa in 2010. Spilt Milk was on the longlist for the 2011 Sunday Times Fiction Prize.

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An important rumination on youth in modern-day South Africa, this haunting debut novel tells the story of two extraordinary young women who have grown up black in white suburbs and must now struggle to find their identities. The rich and pampered Ofilwe has taken her privileged lifestyle for granted, and must confront her swiftly dwindling sense of culture when her soulless world falls apart.

Meanwhile, the hip and sassy Fiks is an ambitious go-getter desperate to leave her vicious past behind for the glossy sophistication of city life, but finds Johannesburg to be more complicated and unforgiving than she expected. These two stories artfully come together to illustrate the weight of history upon a new generation in South Africa.


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