In Ways of Dying, Zakes Mda’s acclaimed first novel, Toloki is a “professional mourner” in a vast and violent city of the new South Africa. Day after day he attends. Winner of the M-Net Book Prize Shortlisted for the CNA and Noma Awards. In Ways of Dying, Zakes Mda’s acclaimed first novel, Toloki is a “professional. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Novelist and playwright Zakes Mda’s Ways of Dying was a big hit in his native South Africa, where it was even.

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Jul 25, Mervyn Koots rated it it was amazing. Once more this is shown to be an example of being conditioned to the violent nature of life mea simply a risk you even just taking taking a taxi ride.

It evokes hope, not despair.

This book reads like folklore. Dec 11, Kevin Wilcox rated it really liked it. Later on in the narrative Toloki and Noria’s friend Shadrack is laid up in the hospital after being taken on what’s known as a “Hell Ride”.

Ways of Dying

For the residents of the slums, murder is a daily occurence and nobody is spared, not even children or was women. Even here though the author finds a way to make the audience feel very uncomfortable when he talks of a serial killer amongst the villagers who prayed on young children with his female accomplice that would lure children into “lonely spots”.

As a matter of fact, all public modes of transportation are seen as a risk to include train rides and the bus.

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It’s a book that will take you on a roller coaster of emotions, you cry, laugh and come back for me. Nov 12, Shirley D. Beginning with a strange job description of Toloki who is a mourner, the author states “He spends his sparse existence on the cremation ground, cooks his food on fires of a funeral pyre, and feeds on human waste and human corpses. I have another new favorite South African novel. People in these third world conditions face many obstacle every day just to fight and survive. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a novel with 1st person plural narration, and I really enjoyed it.

At first ‘read’, this story appears to be a simple one about a Man who appoints himself to be a ‘professional Mourner’ at funerals. Although this profession does actually exist in southern Africa, besides the black comedy of it which is enhanced by his bizarre costume that he dons for this job of work — there is more than a hint of the innocent clown, even of the buffoon, and definitely of the sad, pathetic tramp children laugh at himgiven his homeless, depressed existenceI do think there is a large slab of symbolism in this.

Or they are fighting with the neighbours about children who have beaten up their own children. D degree being conferred on him by the University of Cape Town in This is what survival is all about.

Ways of Dying – Zakes Mda

The two move in together and start a relationship, each claiming the other knows and can teach how to live. Even at a young age they have grown numb to the horrors of death because it occurs in the street daily without a cause. Raditlhalo associates Toloki as a Christ-like figure in his community: Ways of Dying Toloki 1 by Zakes Mda.


Nov 02, Carolien rated it liked it Shelves: Toloki is the first and only professional mourner zzakes a coastal city of South Africa. First they smile, then they giggle, and finally they burst out laughing. Ultimately I think it samples and passes on a piece of the deep pain of living with human creativity, expressed in marvellously poetic terms. Really used this summary as it was the only one I could find and it helped me immensely.

Ways of Dying, by Zakes Mda #BookReview | ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

This is what the human spirit can do. He meets and winds up moving in with a childhood friend from his hometown, Noria, as both come to terms with much of the past and find in each other a person that perhaps can complete their respective lives. Refresh and try again. With great authority in their voices, they come up with wise theories on how to put the world right. Since we never had anything to do with the mountain people, we only know about the events there from the stories that people told.

Jan Klinkies is not resisting individual members of society, but rather the society as a whole. It was a very interesting book, a captivating storyline, a glimpse into South African culture in whimsical folk tale style.