Down Second Avenue: Growing Up in a South African Ghetto

Down Second Avenue: Growing Up in a South African Ghetto

Es’kia Mphahlele’s seminal memoir of life in apartheid South Africa—available for the first time in Penguin Classics  
Nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1969, Es’kia Mphahlele is considered the Dean of African Letters and the father of black South African writing. Down Second Avenue is a landmark book that describes Mphahlele’s experience growing up in segregated South Africa. Vivid, graceful, and unapologetic, it details a daily life of severe poverty and brutal police surveillance under the subjugation of an apartheid regime. Banned in South Africa after its original 1959 publication for its protest against apartheid, Down Second Avenue is a foundational work of literature that continues to inspire activists today.

Title:Down Second Avenue: Growing Up in a South African Ghetto
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780844644516
Format Type:

    Down Second Avenue: Growing Up in a South African Ghetto Reviews

  • Henry Ozogula

    Reading this book, an early classic of African literature, it seems unbelievable that the author could have somehow gone on to become not only one of the finest writers in Africa, but in the whole wor...

  • Lupna Avery

    I suppose one can not fully empathise, or sympathise with people whose lives might be somewhat different to ours ; especially life for women in South Africa during the apartheid regime; but even so th...

  • Leke Giwa

    A very good narrative here, autobiography if you like. The author comes across as a teacher by nature, didactic, very intelligent and a pacifist in his own way. Such a pity that the then apartheid pol...

  • Ellinor

    An interesting and important account of life as a black person in South Africa at the beginning/middle of the 20th century. ...

  • Laura

    "In 1947 I decided not to go to church any more. The white press, the white radio, the white Parliament, the white employers, the white Church babbled their platitudes and their lies about 'Christian ...

  • Makgatla Thepa-Lephale

    My all time favourite autobiography of Mokgaga a Makubele that introduced my to the world of books and reading. Eskia Mphahlele narrates his life story in a very beautiful and sometimes "humourus" way...

  • Deanne

    An autobiographical account of a black writer's life, from his childhood in poverty, to his early teaching career and marriage in a country where the colour of his skin sees him discriminated against....

  • Beth

    This is a childhood memoir encompassing the various local people within the scope of where Es'kia went during childhood. It details peoples struggle with poverty and apartheid. Although most of this t...

  • Isaac Baker

    I appreciate this book for its historical value, and the author’s unique voice and perspective. I picked this up from the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg after an incredible three-week trip in Sout...

  • thewolfisreading

    Mphahlele was born in 1919. This autobiography was published in 1959. Whether or not you know a lot about South African history, reading his account of a person growing up in Maupaneng (a village in L...