Time period

The novel Mother to Mother by Sindiwe Magona takes place in South Africa in the 1970s and early 1990s. The time and date are often mentioned in subheadings throughout the novel, such as: “6am – Thursday 26 August” (p. 164).The main timeline follows an incident that takes place in the all-Black township of Guguletu, on the 25th of August 1993, and the aftermath in the following days. Flashbacks from Mandisa’s childhood also show Guguletu in the early 1970s.

Mandisa also frequently mentions specific time setting clues as she narrates the events of the novel, for example: “I was thirteen, almost fourteen, January 1972” (p. 88). This helps to offer credibility to the events of the novel, and to show that Mandisa is dedicated to offering an accurate and detailed account of her life. References to different historical events, such as the Soweto Uprising of 1976 (p. 24) also help to put the time setting of the novel into perspective.

Physical setting

The physical setting of the nov...

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