OWU Home

News Release

South African Playwright, Novelist to Speak at Ohio Wesleyan
Zakes Mda’s Latest Novel Explores Life in a Small Southern Ohio Hamlet

March 9, 2009

DELAWARE, OHIO – Zakes Mda’s latest novel, “Cion,” centers on Toloki, a professional mourner from South Africa who comes to Athens, Ohio, to study American culture. During his stay with a family in the nearby hamlet of Kilvert, Toloki learns about local black history as he learns to quilt, and he falls in love.

Zakes Mda will read from “Cion”at 7:30 p.m. March 17 in Benes Room C in Ohio Wesleyan University’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware. This presentation is free and open to the public.

Publishers Weekly praised Mda and “Cion” stating, “[T]he book offers a rich and original picture of the United States on both a personal and grander historical level and is suffused with the same lyricism, vividness and dark, tragic wit that have earned the author previous recognition here and in his homeland.”

Mda has published two collections of plays, six novels, and numerous poems. He is a former Amstel Playwright of the Year in his native South Africa. Currently a professor at Ohio University, he earned his doctorate degree from the University of Cape Town.

Ohio Wesleyan University is an undergraduate liberal arts college that transforms the lives of its students through a combination of rigorous academics, mentoring relationships, and real-world experiences. Featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” the private university’s 1,850 students come from 47 states and 50 countries. Visit www.owu.edu for more information.