South Africa’s First Proletarian Writer

  • Michael Wade


Mine Boy must be considered Peter Abrahams’ first substantial novel. It was published in 1946 under the imprint of Dorothy Crisp; it was reissued in 1954 by Faber, after the double success of Return to Goli and Tell Freedom; and it made its inevitable appearance in Heinemann’s African Writers Series in 1964. It contains an element of the inevitable also in its constitution, in relation to Abrahams’ development. His need to express exhaustively the various meanings held for him by the experience of life in Johannesburg had been manifested clearly and frequently in his short stories and in Song of the City, and for the South African writer rendering the unusual point of view of the black man in white society, the urban situation presented the archetypal challenge.


White People Urban Life White Worker South AFRICAN City Life 
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  1. 1.
    William Empson, Some Versions of Pastoral (London: Peregrine, 1966) Chapter 1.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Peter Abrahams, Mine Boy (London: Heinemann Educational Books, 1963).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Mphahlele draws the comparison in African Image (London: Faber & Faber, 1962) p. 177.Google Scholar

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© Michael Wade 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Wade

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