Alex La Guma

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Alex La Guma (20 February 1925 – 11 October 1985) was a South African novelist, leader of the South African Coloured People’s Organisation (SACPO) and a defendant in the Treason Trial, whose works helped characterise the movement against the apartheid era in South Africa. La Guma's vivid style, distinctive dialogue, and realistic, sympathetic portrayal of oppressed groups have made him one of the most notable South African writers of the 20th century. La Guma was awarded the 1969 Lotus Prize for Literature.[1]


La Guma was born in District Six, Cape Town. He was the son of James La Guma,[2] a leading figure in both the Industrial and Commercial Workers' Union and the South African Communist Party.[3]

La Guma attended Trafalgar High School in District Six in Cape Town.[4] After graduating from a technical school in 1945, he was an active member of the Plant Workers Union of the Metal Box Company. He was fired after organizing a strike, and he became active in politics, joining the Young Communists League in 1947 and the South African Communist Party in 1948. He published his first short story, "Nocturn", in 1957. Although La Guma was an inspiration of and inspired by the growing resistance to apartheid, notably the Black Consciousness Movement, his connection to these groups was indirect, as he left South Africa in 1966 and spent the rest of his life in exile.

Notable works[edit]

La Guma's works include the following:


  1. ^ Parekh, Pushpa Naidu; Jagne, Siga Fatima (1998). Postcolonial African writers: a bio-bibliographical critical sourcebook. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 269. ISBN 978-0-313-29056-5. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Alex La Guma, SA History Online
  3. ^ Jimmy La Guma SA History Online
  4. ^ Obituary, retrieved 13 August 2014
  • Kathleen M. Balutansky. The Novels of Alex La Guma: The Representation of a Political Conflict. Three Continents Press (1990)
  • Roger Field. Alex La Guma: A Literary and Political Biography. Woodbridge, UK: James Currey (2010)

External links[edit]