Niq Mhlongo has once again proven that he is a commanding voice in contemporary South African literature. His latest short stories book bear testimony to this fact.
The thing about Niq is that he knows our township stories and he narrates them in a way that we can all relate.
In For You, I’d Steal a Goat, Niq provides the readers with eclectic short stories that encompass a wide range of social, economic and political issues in South Africa. From corruption by our favourite politicians, to xenophobia, forced removals, homosexuality, family feuds, love and betrayal which form daily part of our lives in many Black townships.
Perusing the pages of this book I was reminded about the family feuds that happen when family members fight over deceased assets. And also how our politicians continue to enrich themselves at the expense of people who vote them in power.
I need to admit that I find myself drawn to the Ghost Story, because its relevance cannot be missed as it speaks to the current situation where foreign nationals from other parts of the African continent continue to be harassed and killed in many parts of the townships. And their killings and harassments are motivated by jealousy and economic frustrations of the locals more than anything else.
In For You, I’d Steal a Goat, you cannot but just appreciate Niq’s social and political awareness.
I think the only bummer for me was the repetition of some stories that he had published previously in other books. If you are Niq’s follower and have read his short stories published previously in other books, you might not appreciate having to re-reading these stories once again.
And it is sad that this seems to be the norm for our authors to just repeat stories in their short stories books. I do not know whether this is just to fill in pages or they just take the readers for fools. Either way, I find that to be a disappointment.
Besides that, For You, I’d Steal a Goat is a light read that depicts the complexities of contemporary South Africa.