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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

CLASSROOMS IN THE SHADE (article first published : 2008-08-7)

Due to be launched on August 8 at the Playhouse complex, Shanthee Manjoo’s Classrooms in the Shadeadds a unique perspective to South Africa's history from the opening Sanskrit mantra to the final act of casting her vote in the first democratic elections in 1994.

Her lyrical prose evokes the life and experiences of a remarkable woman in a series of watercolour vistas, at once delicate and detailed yet expansive in their political and social context.

Teacher, mother, wife, sister and friend: Shanthee Manjoo changed the rules and roles, providing painful, poignant, humorous and moving stories that overlap to provide an insight into an under-documented time and community. Peopled with characters from both a personal and national context, the book is described as a wonderfully written memoir that contributes to South Africans’ understanding of their country's past and present, capturing the complex nuances of a very particular time and place in history, with the finely etched characters lingering long after the final page is turned.

“It is good to read of a life that embodies a rich and intricate South African cultural landscape, and we are all the richer for her efforts.” - Betty Govinden

Classrooms in the Shade provides a valuable addition to several other writings based on Indian life that have surfaced in the recent past. It is my honour to recommend this book.” - Fatima Meer




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