978-1-928337-45-4 | R250 | Available at all good bookstores nationwide

The Broken River Tent is a novel that marries imagination with history. It is about the life and times of Maqoma, the Xhosa chief who was at the forefront of fighting British colonialism in the Eastern Cape during the nineteenth century.

The story is told through the eyes of a young South African, Phila, who suffers from what he calls triple ‘N’ condition – neurasthenia, narcolepsy and cultural ne plus ultra. This makes him feel far removed from events happening around him but gives him access to the analeptic memory of his people.

After being under immense mental pressure, he crosses the mental divide between the living and the dead and is visited by Maqoma. They engage in different conversations about cultural history, literature, religion, the past and contemporary South African life.


Mphuthumi Ntabeni is a writer who resides in Cape Town. He contributes to different national and international publications, and maintains a column in the Southern Cross, South Africa’s national weekly Catholic newspaper. He has worked with the Rhodes University drama department in staging two plays he wrote that were featured at the Grahamstown Arts Festival in 2006. Some of his short stories feature occasionally in magazines and historical journals and on radio. In 2008, he was one of six writers from the African continent whose collection of short stories were published in the United States in an anthology titled Africa Fresh! New Writings from the First Continent. He is also a founder of a Facebook book club called Qhamisa Book Club, which boasts more than 2 000 active members.

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