“Decades after his passing, Can Themba’s work is still celebrated across the globe. His classic story, ‘The Suit,’ is widely anthologized, adapted to the stage and performed locally and internationally. The unparalleled success of ‘The Suit’ as one of the most endearing and resilient South African short stories places Can Themba among the most distinguished South African writers.
The occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of ‘The Suit’ offers us an opportunity to pay homage to Can Themba for his contribution to South African journalism and literary landscapes.
‘The Suit’ was first published in 1963, headlining the inaugural issue of Nat Nakasa’s literary journal, The Classic. At the time Nadine Gordimer was part of the advisory board of The Classic and worked closely with Nakasa to establish it. This first issue of The Classic also featured prominent writers and journalists including Es’kia Mphahlele, Lewis Nkosi and Casey Motsisi.
This generation of writers took it upon themselves to chronicle the anguish and the triumphs, the disillusionment and passionate hopes of the struggling masses. These writers were a force behind what Lewis Nkosi describes as ‘The Fabulous Decade,’ which marked a turning point in the history of journalism and literature in South Africa.”
Professor Keorapetse Kgositsile
Can Themba memorial lecture, 21-06-2013
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With: Dineo Seshee Bopape, Lisa Brice, Frances Goodman, Robert Hodgins, Lebohang Kganye, Moshekwa Langa, Sam Nhlengethwa, Cinga Samson, Skattie what are you wearing, Kemang Wa Lehulere
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