Farida Karodia was born in the eastern Cape province in South Africa. She taught in Johannesburg, Zambia and Swaziland before emigrating to Canada in 1969. There she began to write. After first writing several radio plays for Canadian radio, she published her first novel ´Daughters of the Twilight´ in 1986 which was nominated for the renown Fawcett Literature Prize in Great Britain. Two short story volumes followed and two further novels. The most recent novel ´Other Secrets´ (2000) was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. After the end of the apartheid regime, Farida Karodia returned to her home country. Today she lives in South Africa and Canada and works as a freelance writer.
In the short story collection ´Against an African Sky´ (1995) which she wrote after her return to South Africa, the post apartheid society is examined from different perspectives. The author goes beyond the social boundaries of ´gender, race, class´ by creating white, black and Asian, male and female, rich and poor protagonists whom she allows to speak as narrators. In this way, a polyphonous picture of the ´rainbow society´ of South Africa today is created. Thematically, for example, the guilt feelings of the whites after the end of apartheid or the violence in the black townships are critically looked at. Nevertheless, with this, Karodia shows conciliatory and hopeful perspectives and her figures go through identity forming processes which lead them to going beyond well-worn behavioural patterns.
The novel ´Other Secrets´ is dedicated to the Asian minority in South Africa. The story of an Indian trading family in a black dominated rural area is told from the viewpoint of the daughters Jasmin and Meena. Because of their origin, their sex and their age, both girls find themselves, at the same time on a multiple level, in a difficult outsider position to which nevertheless, through the world of inter-family and female solidarity between the generations, a balance is created.
Karodia doesn’t limit her writing to having solely a South African background. The novel ´A Shattering of Silence´ (1993) examines, against the background of the Mozambique civil war, the problems of remembering processes and the overcoming of trauma. The text is based on the fictional diaries of Faith, the protagonist and daughter of Canadian missionaries who are killed during the war. As a young woman, she sets out to find the murderers of her family and with this travels through the destroyed country. At the same time, she recovers her voice and language, which she had lost after the shock experience, in writing. In the preface of the novel, the author emphasizes that she understands the story of the protagonist as exemplary, "merely representative of the reality of hundreds of thousands of children, all over the world, who are brutalized by war, hunger and political corruption".
Author: International Festival of Literature Berlin (ilb)
Novel.Penguin: Sandton (SA)
Novel. Penguin: Sandton (SA)
Against an African Sky and Other Stories
Short stories. D. Philip: Cape Town
A Shattering of Silence
Novel. Heinemann: Oxford
Coming Home and Other Stories
Short stories. Heinemann: Oxford
Daughters of the Twilight
Novel. Women´s Press: London