Synopses & Reviews
The Calling of Katie Makanya A Memoir of South Africa Her mothers entry in the family Bible recorded "a second daughter, Katie, born on July 28, 1873 at Fort Beaufort in the Cape of Good Hope." Because it was milking time, Katies father would call her by her home name, Malubisi, or "Mother of Milk." Colonialism was at its height when Katie Makanya was born in South Africa. When she died at the age of 83, the British Empire had all but disappeared, and apartheid was firmly in place. During the intervening decades of epochal historical change, of turbulent social transitions and profound political and cultural upheavals, Katies courage and determination gave her the strength and will to triumph over poverty and hardship. The Calling of Katie Makanya is an award-winning look at the inspiring life of an exceptional woman. One of six children, Katie grew up watching British Redcoats drilling and hearing stories of the Zulu king Cetshwayos fierce attempts to drive the white men into the sea. While still quite young, she showed a natural talent for the rhythm and melody of the languages around her, "all so similar yet each as different as the notes of a song." Katie became fluent in English, Dutch, Xhosa, and Sotho. Before she was twenty, her youthful inquisitiveness and talent took her, and her sister Charlotte, to England as members of the Jubilee Singers. Yet, despite promises of wealth and fame as a performer, the already determined young woman vowed to return home, to marry, and to raise a family. Katies life back in South Africa would have its share of bitterness and personal tragedy. Leaving behind Durban and Johannesburg because "I dont want to live among white people any longer," Katie sought peace in the country, settling near the Adams Mission at Amanzimtoti. There she met the McCords. James McCord, a white doctor who had come to treat the Zulus, needed an interpreter and assistant. Katie Makanya had found her calling. Before her death, Katie related the remarkable story of her life to Dr. McCords daughter Margaret. This beautiful oral history, filled with haunting remembrances of a richly led life, is sparked by the wisdom of a brave and inspiring woman. The Calling of Katie Makanya will capture your heart. Through its compelling narrative of one womans life, we discover a peoples enduring power.
Winner of the Johannesburg Sunday Times Alan Paton Prize for Nonfiction
Discover a people's enduring power through the inspiring life of a fascinating woman.
Critical acclaim for The Calling of Katie Makanya
""A very marvelous and precious document. . . . It is a magnificent story superbly told. The combination of Katie's extraordinary life and McCord's immense talent as a storyteller is overwhelming. I found it compulsive reading and deeply moving."" --Athol Fugard.
""I fell in love with the Delaney sisters, enjoying both the book and the play. It is good to know their sister in Africa also has her say, that Katie's life, too, can be shared."" --Nikki Giovanni.
""To know the story of Katie Makanya is to feel the pain and promise of life for blacks in South Africa for generations."" --Detroit Free Press.
""Emotionally compelling, resonantly detailed, and of extraordinary cultural significance."" --Kirkus Reviews.
The winner of South Africa's prestigious Sunday Times/Alan Paton prize, this moving, illuminating memoir chronicles the life of an extraordinary woman in South Africa who was born in 1873 in colonial South Africa and lived through the early years of apartheid to her death in 1955. The story of Katie Makanya opens a window to a side of South African life seldom recorded, examining South Africa's patriarchal culture, customs, community traditions, poverty and hardships. Spanning two centuries and set in South Africa's major cities and towns, this memoir encompasses epoch-making events from the Boer War to the World Wars to the transition from colonialism to apartheid.
About the Author
MARGARET McCORD grew up in South Africa. KATIE MAKANYA asked her to record this true story.