Miriam Tlali the first black South African woman to be published passed on in Johannesburg on Friday February 24, 2017.
MiriamTlali was the South African author with books like Muriel at Metropolitan, which was the first to be published by a black South African woman in 1975. Her other books included Amandla which came out in 1980, Mihloti her 1984 tome and Footprints in the Quag which came out in 1989.
She was honoured by the South African government’s Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology in 1995 with a Literary Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2008, she received the Ikhamanga Silver presidential award.
The author who was unwell passed on in Friday and there was an outpouring of emotion for the pioneering woman of letters. They included from Prof Pumla Dineo Gqola the University of Witwatersrand who left this missive on her Facebook pahege;
“#MiriamTlali #RestInPower Miriam Masoli Tlali, feminist, womanist, pioneer, revolutionary, novelist, short story writer, Black Consciousness activist, Staffrider. I am still in shock. I knew when we visited you at the end of last year that the end was very near, that @bobbiboswell and I would probably not see you again. But I still hoped. You said you were ready to go. Still. Thank you for all your work, for every door you kicked down so we wouldn’t have to, for your uncompromising brilliance and radical Black feminist politics to the very end. I’m sorry you didn’t get to see the book in print. I know that the purple carpet sparkles for you as you make your way to the ancestral realms, to be reunited with your love, your babies and your parents. I hope the candles lit in many feminist homes this week help light your way. You have made so much possible for me, for us. I hope we will make worthy heiresses to your legacy.”
The minister for Arts and culture Nathi Mthetwa also commented on her passing on his twitter with the following message
It is with a deep sense of sorrow that we bid farewell to a mother of South African literature, Mme Miriam Tlali, who has passed on. pic.twitter.com/T6uMkSNYzi
— Min. Nathi Mthethwa (@NathiMthethwaSA) February 25, 2017
This was followed with a tribute which read in part, “South Africa has lost a literary legend with the sad passing of Mama Miriam Tlali who left our midst yesterday aged 83. Mama Miriam Tlali was trailblazer having been South Africa’s first black woman to publish a novel.” You can read the whole statement below.
— Arts & Culture (@ArtsCultureSA) February 25, 2017
Also reacting to Miriam’s passing was Simamkele Dlakavu with the tweet;
— Simamkele Dlakavu (@simamkeleD) February 26, 2017
AC Fick a current affairs and news analyst said about Miriam;
In memoriam Miriam Tlali (1933-2017) ✊🏾📚📝 pic.twitter.com/3fRByQTGMS
— AC Fick (@acfick72) February 26, 2017
Rest in Power Mama Miriam Tlali.
You can read more about the legendary author in our Throwback Thursday section.