Mother to Mother

This study guide will help you analyze the novel Mother to Mother (1998) by Sindiwe Magona. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

Sindiwe Magona (b. 1943) is a South African writer from Gugulethu, Cape Town. She is also Writer-in-Residence at the University of the Western Cape. Her published works include novels, short story collections, two autobiographies, children’s books, and a poetry collection. Her most popular work, Mother to Mother (1998) is a fictionalized account of the Amy Biehl murder. Magona also adapted the novel into a play in 2009. 


Here, you can read an extract from our study guide: 

Social setting

The social setting explores the issue of apartheid by showing the effects of the policies enforced by the regime. For example, Mandisa remembers when the government forced Mandisa’s community to relocate from their homes in Blouvlei, Cape Town, to the Guguletu township, which was created to house only black and other non-white people living in Cape Town. Mandisa discusses how the living conditions in Guguletu are poor as the place is crowded and, dirty, and constant wind blows sand into people’s houses. Moreover, the forced move to Guguletu also affects people on a social level: communities are separated, and everyone is new to the neighborhood and still grieving the loss of their old homes so people cannot help one another adapt to their new situation.

The novel also shows the impact apartheid has on education. 

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Mother to Mother

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