Mandla Langa comes from KwaMashu, Durban where he was interested in the literary arts from a young age. After being arrested in 1976, he skipped bail and went into exile. He has participated in various arts programmes and conferences worldwide and has lived in Botswana, Mozambique and Angola, where he did his MK military training, as well as Hungary, Zambia and the United Kingdom.

In 1980 Mandla won the Drum Magazine’s Africa-wide story contest and in 1991 was the first South African to be awarded the Arts Council of Great Britain bursary for creative writing. A scriptwriter and journalist, Mandla has held various ANC posts abroad, including that of Cultural Representative in the UK and Western Europe. He has been a columnist for the Sunday Independent and the New Nation and was the Convenor of the Task Group on Government Communications (COMTASK) in 1997, whose findings led to the restructuring of the apartheid government’s communication systems. From 1999 to 2005 he chaired the council of the merged telecoms and broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA). In 2007, he was the recipient of the National Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for his literary and journalistic contribution to democracy in South Africa. His published works include Tenderness of Blood (1987), A Rainbow on a Paper Sky (1989), The Naked Song and Other Stories (1997), The Memory of Stones (2000), The Lost Colours of the Chameleon (2008), which won the 2009 Commonwealth Prize for Best Book in the African Region and The Texture of Shadows (2014), which is being adapted as a television series and has been translated into Chinese. He has just finished doing a fellowship with STIAS (Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies), has written Dare Not Linger (The Presidential Years of Nelson Mandela) which is due out in October 2017, and is working on his next novel.

Mandla Langa sits on various boards such as Multichoice’s Phuthuma Nathi; Primedia; Business and Arts South Africa; Koketso Holdings and is a trustee of CAMA (Contemporary African Music and Arts.)

He is married to June Josephs and they have four daughters.

Back to speakers