Alexandra township with its 100 years of existence continues to produce eclectic South African stories. And Two Tons O’ Fun is the latest story based in Alex.
In Two Tons O’ Fun, Fred Khumalo takes the readers to the township and allows Lerato Morolong to share with us about her colorful family, relationship with her mother, way-ward friends and experiencing the two sides of Alexandra.
Teenage pregnancy, afrophobia, homosexuality, socioeconomic issues, friendship, adulting, tribalism,Christainity, African beliefs, and violence are some of the themes that serves up the narrative.
Now, if you are like me and familiar with the township lifestyle, this is a story that you will be much familiar with.
There’s nothing new that surprised me inside the pages of this novel.
Lerato, her family and friends are people that we know and see every day in our different townships. And as such, this story is not something that truly wowed me and the language used did not help at all. And that set up a tone of disappointment for me throughout.
I must admit that I truly find it very disappointing that the scribe wrote a story set in a Black township about Black lives, and still used English throughout to narrate it. On top of that, the characters also engage each other in English throughout the narration.
As a reader who lives in a Black township, it truly becomes difficult for me to just relate with the characters, and that is because of the language. I do not expect Matlakala and Lerato in a story set in Alexandra to converse in English throughout. That’s not how we speak. The likes of Angela Makholwa, Kopano Matlwa and Lebo Mazibuko have shown that if you are writing a Black township story, do not dilute it by compromising on the language.
Perusing through the pages of this book, it was just difficult for me to be able to see myself in the characters. Granted, you want to include other diverse audiences on the story, but compromising on the language dilutes the authenticity of the story.
And believe me, I have massive respect for Bra Fred, but I truly believe in this case, given the setting of the story, he should have opted for a mixture of English and our township slang to make the characters’ engagement more authentic.
If you are not familiar with South African township lifestyle, then this is your book. It will give you a proper understanding of how the majority of Black South Africans go about their lives on a daily basis, especially the challenges that millennials have to face as a result of the legacies of apartheid.