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Can Themba

In the 1950's, Can Themba lived in Sophiatown, the multicultural suburb of Johannesburg, before it was brutally 'rubbed out' and completely suppressed by the authorities. Shocked by this event, he denounced it by writing Requiem for Sophiatown.

Can Themba belonged to a group of black activist journalists who published their works in the magazine Drum. These articles and news items described the boiling, cruel, vibrant and violent life of Sophiatown. He was blacklisted by all the newspapers and other publications in South Africa.

He was exiled to Swaziland, where little by little he sank into alcoholism and died in squalor in 1967. His two friends, Nat Nakasa and Ingrid Jonker, committed suicide, destroyed, like many others, by apartheid.

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