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

KHABZELA (article first published : 2005-12-4)

Adams Campus Bookshop and IKE’s Books & Collectables in association with Jacana Publishers recently launched Khabzela: The Life and Times of Yfm DJ, Fana Khaba.

By Liz McGregor, Khabzela concerns the brief life and perplexing death of Fana Khaba (aka Khabzela), a youth icon who died of AIDS on January 14, 2004, at the age of 35. His brief life mirrors that of the first generation to reach adulthood after liberation.

Born and brought up in dire poverty in Soweto, Khabzela managed against all the odds to fulfil his lifelong dream of becoming a DJ. No sooner had he achieved this, than he fell ill with AIDS. The central question of this timely and astonishing book is: why didn’t he take anti-retrovirals and save his own life?

Liz McGregor’s search for an answer takes the reader on a journey through modern South Africa; the taxi wars and the birth of the kwaito generation, the negotiation of sexual relations in a world where sex can mean death and the flourishing of a new industry of miracle-peddlers feeding off the AIDS epidemic.

Edwin Cameron, author of Witness to Aids, comments: “Liz McGregor’s account of the choices and circumstances that caused this talented and visionary young man to die when he could have had life, is riveting and deeply moving.”

Liz McGregor recently returned to South Africa after 17 years abroad, including two years working as a freelance foreign correspondent in South Korea and 13 years as a staff journalist on the Guardian where she was deputy editor of the Comment and Analysis pages. Prior to that, she worked for several local papers, including the Rand Daily Mail and Sunday Times and was a co-founder of Grassroots, the now defunct Cape Town activist community newspaper.




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