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Coconut [Reading] ➶ Coconut By Kopano Matlwa – Buyprobolan50.co.uk An important rumination on youth in modern day South Africa, this haunting debut novel tells the story of two extraordinary young women who have grown up black in white suburbs and must now struggle t An important rumination on youth in modern day South Africa, this haunting debut novel tells the story of two extraordinary young women who have grown up black in white suburbs and must now struggle to find their identities The rich and pampered Ofilwe has taken her privileged lifestyle for granted, and must confront her swiftly dwindling sense of culture when her soulless world falls apart Meanwhile, the hip and sassy Fiks is an ambitious go getter desperate to leave her vicious past behind for the glossy sophistication of city life, but finds Johannesburg to be complicated and unforgiving than she expected These two stories artfully come together to illustrate the weight of history upon a new generation in South Africa.

  • Paperback
  • 198 pages
  • Coconut
  • Kopano Matlwa
  • English
  • 23 April 2019
  • 1770093362

About the Author: Kopano Matlwa

Podcast with Kopano Matlwa by Victor Dlamini May th, .



10 thoughts on “Coconut

  1. Zanna Zanna says:

    I do not know how to make it pretty I do not know how to mask it It is not a piece of literary genius It is the story of our lives It is our story, told in our own words as we feel it every day It is boring It is plain It is overdone and definitely not newsworthy But it is the story we have to tellToo much humility in this afterword this text may not be pretty but it certainly isn t boring or overdone, and it s plain only in the sense of being true in the way that only fiction can be, a I do not know how to make it pretty I do not know how to mask it It is not a piece of literary genius It is the story of our lives It is our story, told in our own words as we feel it every day It is boring It is plain It is overdone and definitely not newsworthy But it is the story we have to tellToo much humility in this afterword this text may not be pretty but it certainly isn t boring or overdone, and it s plain only in the sense of being true in the way that only fiction can be, and unadorned by the leavening magics that some imaginations infuse into the worlds they bring into being through fiction s transformations If the voicing of the narrators especially young children occasionally grates on me, what stories of displaced languages and bodies are hidden in my irritation Ofilwe and Fikile sister victims of the same poison of racism and the same loss of violently injured cultures One is a littlecushioned, a littleprivileged, but the effect of juxtaposition here shows how colonisation and white supremacy have structured other axes of difference like gender and wealth In many ways the young women and their male age mates suffer similarly.This reminded me of The Sabi, another vital story of the corrosive effects of racism that leaves me with little to say in response It isn t my turn to speak

  2. Baratang Baratang says:

    Kopano dared to talk about how us, the post apartheid black people of South Africa perceive what is important and what is not, in order for us to survive and prosper Sadly but true, the repressive colonial and apartheid systems we ve been under made us regard our languages and everything African as inferior We are black but propagate the European agenda and dreams for our own lives and those of our children.Nonetheless life will forever remind a person who she is, through the frustrations and Kopano dared to talk about how us, the post apartheid black people of South Africa perceive what is important and what is not, in order for us to survive and prosper Sadly but true, the repressive colonial and apartheid systems we ve been under made us regard our languages and everything African as inferior We are black but propagate the European agenda and dreams for our own lives and those of our children.Nonetheless life will forever remind a person who she is, through the frustrations and the hurt a person goes through while trying to be what she is not The emotional, physical, financial and health implications, and the string of failures will forever be there Black women in South Africa buy artificial hair, apply scalp damaging relaxers on their nappy hair, and wear clothes that even a blind man can see were not designed for the African figure We send our children to English medium schools and frawn upon those who cannot afford to There is also a huge socio economic divide as seen between Fikile and Ofilwe s families Irrespective of the economic disparity, these groups are all coconuts, wanting to live and be like Europeans, and those who have the money, seeking validation from the Europeans and embarassed by their own inherent African ways of doinf things I hope it is not too late for South Africans and other Africans to realise to heed to grandma s story about the the apples and the pear That is the truth and nothing else but the truth We can have less stressed happier and progressive people in this country, who appreciate others, without wanting to be like them

  3. Anna Anna says:

    There aren t many books that accurately portray how it feels to be a young girl of colour growing up in the democratic rainbow nation of South Africa Coconut tells the story of Ophilwe, a young black girl growing up in the lap of luxury in white suburbia, as she struggles to fit in with the people around her Her struggle to fit in with her white neighbours while trying to retain her African heritage is a common struggle today that is not often talked about or even acknowledged.It also shows There aren t many books that accurately portray how it feels to be a young girl of colour growing up in the democratic rainbow nation of South Africa Coconut tells the story of Ophilwe, a young black girl growing up in the lap of luxury in white suburbia, as she struggles to fit in with the people around her Her struggle to fit in with her white neighbours while trying to retain her African heritage is a common struggle today that is not often talked about or even acknowledged.It also shows the flip side of the coin and explores the life of a young black woman who not only feels limited by the colour of her skin but takes that limitation and oppression to full blown self loathing What happens when your desperate need to be white overpowers common sense If you want to know what it feels like for young people of colour to be caught between a rock and a white place then try this book

  4. Richard Richard says:

    Are You Getting White With MeRediscovery Blog Leg IX Cracking the Coconut with Dr Matlwa Dear Kopano,You are roughly half my age, yet somehow you have written a book that is unnervingly mature in its dissection of a theme that, in my opinion, is the placenta that feeds many of the world s great novels the quest for identity and autonomy To be quite honest, I was expecting African chicklit Fortunately, you gave me a whole lotThe purpose of my Voyage of Rediscovery is to broade Are You Getting White With MeRediscovery Blog Leg IX Cracking the Coconut with Dr Matlwa Dear Kopano,You are roughly half my age, yet somehow you have written a book that is unnervingly mature in its dissection of a theme that, in my opinion, is the placenta that feeds many of the world s great novels the quest for identity and autonomy To be quite honest, I was expecting African chicklit Fortunately, you gave me a whole lotThe purpose of my Voyage of Rediscovery is to broaden my horizons and to explore worlds that are generally inaccessible to a middle aged, white guy which is, sadly, what I have turned out to be That means I read fiction in the hope that it reflects fact in such way that I am forced to reconsider my perceptions of the real world my real world In short, a good book raises questions And your produced plenty of milk for my hungry mind.To keep things in perspective, I have boiled my many musings down to a single train of thought even blending metaphors to extract the coconutty essence of it all.You may be interested to hear that the Creole community in Holland have their own term for coconuts They refer to people who are brown outside but white inside as Bounties a reference to a popular chocolate bar which has a white, coconut filling how apt This implies that the pursuit of whiteness whatever that may be is not only frowned upon in South Africa, but also in Amsterdam, where race is not necessarily a hot issue All this brings to mind the odd expression Are you getting white with me I m not sure if this is still commonly used in South Africa, but in my youth it served to firmly remind supposedly inferior parties of all races of their place in the pecking order All of these terms coconut, Bounty, white are almost invariably expressed at an interpersonal level in reference to perceived attempts to achieve or express superiority I suppose it all boils down to that age old question Do you think you re better than me This blunt shard of rhetoric becomes evenlethal when it is dipped in racial poison In essence, the coconut or Bounty is accused of misplaced superiority with regard to an entire race or community, and not just at an interpersonal level What I find intriguing is that, to my knowledge, none of the characters in your book is ever accused of being a coconut However, they all portray various dimensions of this theme Fifi wants to be accepted by her white friends Fiks wants to escape her dire circumstances Uncle has allowed himself to be exploited to consolidate the superiority of his white bosses and Tshepo is struggling to achieve superiority on his own terms.Your book is especially impressive in that it does not choose sides, but allows characters to play out different dimensions of the struggle for identity, autonomy and superiority Naturally, the encounters between these different characters also offer highly provocative food for thought.That said, I am sure Coconut will be a source of endless debate once it becomes required reading at South African high schools I wish I could listen in on these discussions, if only to confirm that the issue at hand has as many dimensions as there are people

  5. Leslie Reese Leslie Reese says:

    In every classroom children are dying It is a parasitic disease, seizing the mind for its own usage Using the mind for its own survival So that it might grow, divide, multiply and infect others Burnt Sienna washing out DNA coding for white greed, blond vanity and blue eyed malevolence IsiZulu forgotten Tshivenda a distant memory A coconut in South Africa is what s called an oreo in the United States black on the outside and white on the inside This story is about two different typIn every classroom children are dying It is a parasitic disease, seizing the mind for its own usage Using the mind for its own survival So that it might grow, divide, multiply and infect others Burnt Sienna washing out DNA coding for white greed, blond vanity and blue eyed malevolence IsiZulu forgotten Tshivenda a distant memory A coconut in South Africa is what s called an oreo in the United States black on the outside and white on the inside This story is about two different types of coconuts Ofilwe and Fikile two young South African girls who are seething with the rage of having no love for their blackness Kopano Matlwa has written this book in fast moving parts the first in Ofilwe s voice, while the second is written in Fikile aka Fiks s voice At one point another voice is added that of Ofilwe s brother, Tshepo providing a much needed counterpoint and I was disappointed not to hearfrom him When Fikile saysI need to spring clean my head There is a real big mess up there but I am too afraid to go in because I do not think I have the strength to handle the task of tidying it allmight she be uttering the emotions behind Matlwa s need to lay these relentless truths on the table I craved some tenderness or the presence of a wise parent, teacher, or mentor however, their absence did not make this book less readable The scattered english spoken by Ofilwe s mother seemed to be both metaphor and symbol for the clash of sensibilities present in post apartheid South Africa I m glad the Afro Book Club brought this book to my attention

  6. Tony Tony says:

    An excellent but disturbing look at the lives of two black girls living in post aparteid South Africa One has the support of family and money whilst the other has neither Both girls have dreams about making it in the world but to achieve those dreams there is an underlying pressure to fit in, to conform, to assimilate into the culture that gives the most opportunities, the white culture They aspire to be accepted into white society and reap the benefits The tension it creates while challengi An excellent but disturbing look at the lives of two black girls living in post aparteid South Africa One has the support of family and money whilst the other has neither Both girls have dreams about making it in the world but to achieve those dreams there is an underlying pressure to fit in, to conform, to assimilate into the culture that gives the most opportunities, the white culture They aspire to be accepted into white society and reap the benefits The tension it creates while challenging them and spurs them on, also start to change them and crush their links with their own language, community and culture One girl grows up rejecting the language of her family and can now only speak English, the other resents having to use public transport with other black people and looks down on them When asked in school what she wanted to be when she grew up her answer was, I want to be white The two girls pull away from their black communities and roots but are not really accepted in white society People look through them, not seeing them, just their skin Asandopportunites are made available to black people in South Africa, will this type of tension increase Will the scramble for material wealth result in the complete rejection of traditional values and culture For the country s sake, I hope not

  7. Paige Paige says:

    At the very end of this book, Kopano Matlwa writes, I do not know how to make it pretty I do not know how to mask it It is not a piece of literary genius It is overdone and definitely not newsworthy But it is the story we have to tell I agree that the writing is generally not captivating, although at times it is very poetic I ran into some frustrations with the style, especially in the first half so much so that I almost stopped reading it But the first few pages of the second hal At the very end of this book, Kopano Matlwa writes, I do not know how to make it pretty I do not know how to mask it It is not a piece of literary genius It is overdone and definitely not newsworthy But it is the story we have to tell I agree that the writing is generally not captivating, although at times it is very poetic I ran into some frustrations with the style, especially in the first half so much so that I almost stopped reading it But the first few pages of the second half really grabbed me and I m glad I stuck with it, because the two parts really work well together I also agree that this is a story that needs to be told it is primarily a story of identity and colonialism, specifically black identity in present day South Africa, and it was this aspect of the book that found the most interesting and thought provoking At times the writing is very blunt but I definitely appreciate the importance of what she is saying

  8. Beverly Beverly says:

    This was a 3 read for me.My thoughts This was a quick read once I got use to the author s writing style This book is divided into two parts each part telling the story of a girl in the post apartheid South Africa from different economic statuses the girls do not know each other and there is only one scene in the book where they unknowingly meet briefly For me the sum of the two stories works better than the parts of the story so it was after reading the book that the storylines were This was a 3 read for me.My thoughts This was a quick read once I got use to the author s writing style This book is divided into two parts each part telling the story of a girl in the post apartheid South Africa from different economic statuses the girls do not know each other and there is only one scene in the book where they unknowingly meet briefly For me the sum of the two stories works better than the parts of the story so it was after reading the book that the storylines wereinformative and valuable in the messaging I thought the author was a very astute observer of issues faced by young women and could eloquently write about the issues in auniversal political context without being preaching especially for her young age at the time she wrote the book The author did a good job of showing the legacy of colonized consciousness as it relates to appearance of women as they want to gain power and recognition I would read future works by the author

  9. Sinovuyo Nkonki Sinovuyo Nkonki says:

    Having been called a coconut all my life, this book caught my attention immediately It captured the dual world influence that young Black South African s brought up in the suburbs and exposed to Westernised settings like my self experience It is, in my opinion, so culturally and socially relevant and well written I was just upset I hadn t written it first lol Her writing carries a lot of depth and insight.

  10. Tiah Tiah says:

    The author doesn t hold back with the punches The characters are full of faults and humanity Neither woman is easy to like But their stories are gripping I am not sure if the author has a solution But with her two main characters, the author has drawn a masterful portrait of the problems and pitfalls that face the emerging South African middle class or those striving for it in the New South Africa This isn t an issue that is unique to South Africa Immigrants to the US struggle with cult The author doesn t hold back with the punches The characters are full of faults and humanity Neither woman is easy to like But their stories are gripping I am not sure if the author has a solution But with her two main characters, the author has drawn a masterful portrait of the problems and pitfalls that face the emerging South African middle class or those striving for it in the New South Africa This isn t an issue that is unique to South Africa Immigrants to the US struggle with cultural identity vs their children becoming westernized all the time But there is a key difference, the people coming to the US are immigrants, blacks in South Africa are in their own homeland Which in itself opens up a minefield but perhaps one that needs to be addressed sooner, rather than later

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