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LISTEN | Bongani Kona discusses ‘Our Ghosts Were Once People’

Released weekly, Jonathan Ball Publishers’ podcast series Pagecast offers insider interviews with prominent authors and their latest books

25 April 2022 - 13:48
The stories in 'Our Ghosts Were Once People' transform the pain of death into something beautiful so we can find ways to live with loss.
The stories in 'Our Ghosts Were Once People' transform the pain of death into something beautiful so we can find ways to live with loss.
Image: Supplied

“I would get out of the car at every shopping centre and want to ask the stranger walking by with their trolley: ‘Why are you still shopping? Someone I love has died.’”

Death is a fact of life but the experience of grief is as unique to each of us as our fingerprints. This poignant and thought-provoking anthology, edited by Bongani Kona, gives us portraits of grief seen through the eyes of writers and poets including Sisonke Msimang, Dawn Garisch, Lidudumalingani, Mary Watson, Ishtiyaq Shukri, Hedley Twidle, Karin Schimke, Khadija Patel, Shubnum Khan and many others.

The contributions range from the deeply personal — a poet chronicles her relationship with her troubled, abusive father, a World War 2 survivor — to the political — an investigator from the Missing Persons Task Team draws us into the ongoing search for the remains of activists murdered by the apartheid state between 1960 and 1994 — to the philosophical —a writer ponders the ethics of killing small animals.

Perhaps grief never truly ends, but these stories transform the pain of death into something beautiful so we can find ways to live with loss.

Listen to Kona discuss this anthology on death and dying here:

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