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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Trivia About Ways of Dying To Or should I say our ways of living are our ways of dying? He was kidnapped on a taxi ride where he was then taken to a secluded place and beaten severely by local police just for fun.

Post was not sent – check your email addresses! The women of the neighbourhood follow the example of their children and bring household items for Noria to use: He creates special sounds to lament the death of his employers’ loved ones and adopts an ascetic lifestyle he believes suits zakrs profession. The lurking notion that these derelict characters offer a positive lesson to society is implicit in the motif of new life in death.

Ways of Dying

I liked Toloki’s re-invention of himself as a professional mourner. You can use them until your situation has changed for the better, when you have found yourself.

Jan Klinkies and Toloki offer their cans and crayon drawings as messages to their communities, and that these symbols are generated from outcasts speaks volumes to where the heart of society belongs. He already has something of a reputation, and people hire him to come to the funerals of their relatives.

Jul 23, Jonathan Fiencke rated it really liked it Recommends it for: In either case, Wicomb and Mda suggest that the alienation of Jan Klinkies and Toloki is an inappropriate result of a systematic and arbitrary labeling. Well written story despite the harsh violence and death.


There are definitely elements of magical realism here, but only enough to take the edge off the horrific violence that is part of the everyday existence for the people in the neighborhood. There are also pictures of lounges, of dining rooms, and of bedrooms.

The differing perspectives also add depth as the reader slowly begins to find out more about both protagonist and how they relate to one another. No md was I a comfortable college kid living in a suburban white neighborhood, but a “homeboy” who lived in the sweaty putrid dyinf struggling for survival everyday. Yet, helped by the fact that Toloki and Noria are almost relentlessly optimistic, the book is also surprisingly upbeat. The cans of Jan Klinkies are similarly a beacon of hope in the face of oppression.

Since we never had anything to do with the mountain people, we only know about the events there from the stories that people told. The whole family setting seemed to be displaced with the explanation of the mountain woman and the doctor, Toloki’s mother who seemed to be insane, and a mystic way of life that seemed to encompass everybody.

The four walls are divided into different sections. History being cyclical as it is there will always be the need for books like this. But this time it is not mingled with the sickly stench of roasting human flesh. By, primarily, vindictive, revenge-driven, misguided, human violence and evil. PS Where are you studying this book?

Ways of Dying – Wikipedia

But I found, over and above this, a book that achieves much more and does not have that theme, important though it is, at its centre. He is labeled and segregated, seen as a burden on his family rather than a potential leader of revolution.

However, extreme poverty, senseless killings, racial inequities, and the inequality of the sexes are ever present in this book by South African author, Zades Mda. To them, he is a chore to be grumbled about. But Ways of Dying is a love story, one that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit.

Not only are the labels unfitting, Mda and Wicomb suggest they are directly contrary to the true values of Toloki and Jan Klinkies. A beautifully written book set in South Africa in the early ‘s. With great authority in their voices, they come up with wise theories on how to put the world right. The author mdw it best speaking through Noria saying “that death lives with us everyday. Without her, Jwara was sullen and could not create — and he took much of his frustration out on his ugly son, Toloki.

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This is what the human spirit can do. Life is a complete gamble still in certain areas of Africa because of things like civil war, poor infrastructure and horrible things like genocide. Noria learned to grieve through Toloki and Toloki learned how to persevere through Noria.

Not sexually, though sex love between man and woman does play a role in events described. The next zakss they wake up and continue with their empty theories. Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review ‘s biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. The waya covers only a week and little happens in that week: The women of the neighbourhood follow the example of their children and bring household items for Noria to use:.

What would you like to know? First zxkes smile, then they giggle, and finally they burst out laughing. Toloki is the first and only professional mourner in a coastal city of South Africa. Ways of Dying is a very good book: The main character is a professional mourner—a man who goes from funeral to funeral and there are a lot of them mourning loudly and paid through tips. A man needs a woman in order to unleash his full potential.

A well deserved 4 stars.