With the publication of Kafka’s Curse, Achmat Dangor established himself as an utterly singular voice in South African fiction. His new novel, a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and the IMPAC-Dublin Literary Award, is a clear-eyed, witty, yet deeply serious look at South Africa’s political history and its damaging legacy in the lives of those who live there.
The last time Silas Ali encountered Lieutenant Du Boise, Silas was locked in the back of a police van and the lieutenant was conducting a vicious assault on Silas’s wife, Lydia, in revenge for her husband’s participation in Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress. When Silas sees Du Boise by chance twenty years later, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is about to deliver its report, crimes from the past erupt into the present, splintering the Alis’ fragile peace.
Meanwhile Silas and Lydia’s son, Mikey, a thoroughly contemporary young hip-hop lothario, contends in unforeseen ways with his parents’ pasts. A harrowing story of a brittle family on the crossroads of history and a fearless skewering of the pieties of revolutionary movements, Bitter Fruit is a cautionary tale of how we do, or do not, address the past’s deepest wounds.
Achmat Dangor (.in 1948), is a South African writer and the CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg. The Nelson Mandela Foundation promotes and enables the growth of human fulfillment and the continuous expansion of the frontiers of freedom.
Before joining the foundation in January 2007, Mr. Dangor was Director of Advocacy, Communications and Leadership at UNAIDS, and before that, he was Interim Director of the World AIDS Campaign. Previously, Mr. Dangor served as Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation.
Prior to that, he worked in the private sector, including a 13-year stint as a senior executive in Revlon Inc.’s South African subsidiary. As the founding executive director of the Kagiso Trust (1986-1991) he worked alongside prominent political and church leaders, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to build up the largest black-led foundation in South Africa.
In 1993, Mr. Dangor returned to South Africa to head up the Secretariat of the Drought Forum created by the newly unbanned liberation movements, churches and community organizations to coordinate relief efforts at the height of the severe drought of early 1990’s.
The Forum’s brief was to ensure that government and private resources reached the neediest people and that a solid development foundation was laid. In 1994 he joined the Independent Development Trust (IDT) as director for rural development, and later served as its acting CEO during a crucial transformation period.
During this time he was also a member of various task groups set up by the office of then Deputy President, Thabo Mbeki, to create the Transitional National Development Trust (TNDT) and its successor, the National Development Agency (NDA).
Achmat Dangor is a writer who has published five works of fiction and poetry. It is a vocation that he continues to pursue as he has an active interest in the arts and culture. Random House bought his first USA publication in 1999 and his last novel has been translated into five languages.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation leads the development of a living legacy that captures the vision and values of Nelson Mandela’s life and work. Through the creation of strategic networks and partnerships, the Nelson Mandela Foundation directs resources, knowledge and practice to add value and demonstrate new possibilities. It embodies the spirit of reconciliation, ubuntu and social justice.