Niq Mhlongo

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Niq Mhlongo (born 10 June 1973) is a South African journalist, editor, writer and educator.

Early life and education[edit]

Mhlongo was born in Midway-Chiawelo, Soweto, the seventh of nine children, and raised in Soweto. His father, who died when Mhlongo was a teenager, worked as a post-office sweeper. Mhlongo was sent to Limpopo Province, the province his mother came from, to finish high school. Initially failing his matriculation exam in October 1990,[1] Mhlongo completed his matric at Malenga High School in 1991.

He studied African literature and political studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, gaining a BA in 1996. In 1997 he enrolled to study law there, transferring to the University of Cape Town the following year. In 2000 he discontinued university study to write his first novel, Dog Eat Dog.[2]


Mhlongo was described by Rachel Donadio in The New York Times as "one of the most high-spirited and irreverent new voices of South Africa's post-apartheid literary scene".[1]

Mhlongo has presented his work at the Caine Prize Workshop and the Zanzibar International Film Festival, and was a 2008 International Writing Program fellow at the University of Iowa.[3] His work has been translated into Spanish, German, French, Dutch, and Italian.

Mhlongo's writing has a post-apartheid backdrop. He is influenced by his hometown of Soweto; Mhlongo pens his novels in Soweto, about Soweto and in Soweto dialect. His book Way Back Home was launched in Soweto. Xenophobia is another theme explored in his work.[4]


  • Dog Eat Dog (Kwela, 2004)
  • After Tears (Kwela, 2007)
  • Way Back Home (Kwela, 2013)
  • Affluenza (Kwela, 2016)
  • Soweto (Under The Apricot Tree, 2018)
  • Black Tax (Jonathan Ball, 2019)
  • Paradise in Gaza (Kwela, 2020)
  • Joburg Noir (Jacana, 2020)
  • Hauntings (Jacana, 2021)



  1. ^ a b Donadio, Rachel (3 December 2006). "Post-Apartheid Fiction". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Young Voices: Niq Mhlongo".
  3. ^ Niq Mhlongo - 2008 Resident, University of Iowa. He has also been an artist in residency with different institutions including, The Sylt Foundation in Germany in 2005,Akademie der Kunst De Welt Cologne in Germany, Literarisches Colloquium Berlin, Mellon Foundation Artist residency University of Pretoria, Mellon Foundation Artist-in-Residency University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is currently living in Berlin as a 2020 DAAD Artist in residence.
  4. ^ "Home and away", Archive, Books & Oration, CHRONIC, 1 June 2013. Viewed 29 August 2014.
  5. ^ "Winners of 2019 Media24 Books Literary Prizes announced". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  6. ^ "[The JRB Daily] 2021 Humanities and Social Sciences Awards winners announced—including The JRB's Makhosazana Xaba and Niq Mhlongo". 1 April 2021. Retrieved 23 November 2021.