Africa: Stories in the 55

The perils for Zimbabweans crossing the border into South Africa personified in Sue Nyathi's new novel, The Gold-Diggers

Audio 09:05
Sue Nyathi, Zimbabwean novelist and author of The Gold-Diggers
Sue Nyathi, Zimbabwean novelist and author of The Gold-Diggers (c) Shaun Gregory

In this month's Africa: Stories in the 55, Zimbabwean author Sue Nyathi delves into the dangers of crossing into South Africa illegally in the hopes of finding work and a better life. The Gold-Diggers explores the lives of six people who illegally cross the border in a combi, or van, and how their hopes and dreams-- independently from each other-- are thwarted as they try to start their lives in South Africa.


For characters like Portia and her son Nkosi, life is a struggle, but finding the right people to help you makes a difference. Lindani, a young woman, uses her body to get to South Africa, becoming a vulnerable migrant as she struggles to live. Guglethu, a little girl sent by her grandmother to find her mother, never makes it to the meeting point.

"When people come in illegally, there's so many dangers that they face, and I wanted to highlight this as well, in terms of the desperation that propels people to come into a country using this kind of method," says Nyathi, a Zimbabwean writer based in South Africa.

Listen to Sue Nyathi speak about developing her characters and reading an excerpt from The Gold-Diggers.

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