A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

literature
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

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 : 2008-08-27)

Classrooms in the Shade was successfully launched in Pietermaritzburg, Durban and Johannesburg earlier this month and will soon be available at various bookstores throughout Southern Africa, the UK and Europe, the USA and Canada.

From the opening Sanskrit mantra to the final act of casting her vote in the first democratic elections in 1994, Shanthee Manjoo’s Classrooms in the Shade adds a unique perspective to South Africa's history. 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 a wonderfully written memoir that contributes to readers’ understanding of South Africa'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.

She is able to sketch with bold stroked language, a picture of a community in transition. The Group Areas Act and the relocation of Indians out of places like Plessislaer, the Indian resistance, the student boycotts, the political strife and the tensions of a highly segregated society provide the expansive background landscape for a story about a young Hindu woman who makes the astoundingly bold decision to marry a Muslim in the late 1940’s. A committed and highly talented teacher, the book recounts the challenges of being an intelligent, highly opinionated, and headstrong woman in a community that valued women more as mothers rather than leaders.

Classrooms in the Shade has been a long labour of love. It has been an organic writing process over the years that has resulted in an autobiography that offers acute insights into the life of a not so ordinary Indian woman and educator growing up during the height of Apartheid

Retired teacher Shanthee Manjoo lives in Pietermaritzburg, next door to the home where she grew up. She was educated at a Catholic convent school, the sort of education that has left an indelible mark with her speech peppered with a variety of literary allusions that include quotes from Plato and the poetry of Keats. In her very early eighties, she explodes with vivacious aplomb any notion of the meek, quiet submissive Indian woman stereotype. Her razor-cut black pageboy bob and immaculately applied post-box red lipstick are exterior trademarks of a woman born ahead of her time.

Classrooms in the Shade retails at R145.




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart