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Percy Zvomuya Interviews Antjie Krog on Begging to Be Black

Begging to be BlackAntjie KrogAn in-depth look at Krog’s themes and thrusts in Begging to be Black, Zvomuya’s carefully-plotted interview is a must-read:

The book asks whether it is possible to “make a moral decision within an immoral context”. How do you counter the grand national narrative that recognises two sets of morality: one black and another white? “A white life has meaning only for whites, while a black life means nothing for both black and white.” Small wonder a teacher at a black school asks: “My question is what do I teach children who are not scared of death?”

Riven by such conflicting feelings, extending right to the personal, Krog tries to locate a different framework of morality that admits the interconnectedness (Krog’s favourite phrase) of humanity that finds itself in a world in which different sets of values fight for dominance.

These questions take her back to King Moshoeshoe (1787-1868), founder of the Basotho nation. In an interview with the author in Johannesburg, I remark on the strangeness of that choice. King Shaka would have been the conventional option, I hazard.

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