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and They Didn't Die
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LAURETTA NGCOBO was born in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and now works as an information officer for the Inkatha Freedom Party.

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And They Didn't Die

Lauretta Ngcobo

Afterword by M.J. Daymond

Drawing on firsthand experience, distinguished South African writer Lauretta Ngcobo depicts the lives of rural women in South Africa, paying homage to the extraordinary courage and remarkable endurance of these unsung heroines of the struggle against apartheid.

Set in the barren Sabelweini Valley in the 1950s to 1980s, the novel centers around one young woman, Jezile, whose political consciousness deepens as state laws threaten her earnings and her land. Arrested along with hundreds of others and sentenced to six months hard labor in prison, Jezile returns home to find her child dying of starvation. When her husband is arrested for stealing milk to save the child, Jezile must fight to ensure her family’s survival. "And They Didn’t Die brilliantly chronicles the untold predicaments of women caught between custom, white law, and the migrant system,” notes Anne McClintock.

"And They Didn’t Die brilliantly chronicles the untold predicaments of women caught between custom, white law, and the migrant system. Much of its power lies in Ngcobo’s talent for complication and nuance, and for her refusal of dogma. . . . It explores what happens when women start asking questions: about cattle and the land, about female power, about tradition, about violence, about sex."

Voice Literary Supplement

"Ngcobo writes with grace and compassion about one woman's suffering, meanwhile providing insights into . . . village culture, the injustices of the legal system, the routines and atmosphere of black prisons, and the indomitable spirit of an oppressed people."

Publishers Weekly

"Harsh yet poignant, this novel rescues the experience of so many whose stories have remained untold."

—Gillian Slovo

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