by Khaya Dlanga (Macmillan) ISBN: 978-1-77010-471-6
As far as memoirs go, Dlanga’s book is a damn good story. It is well written, often humorous and sometimes really sad.
To Quote Myself also has the dubious honour of being South Africa's most stolen book. Go figure. Perhaps it is a book that people cannot afford, but really want to know how a person goes from being homeless to one of the most influential voice in South Africa.
To Quote Myself is about Dlanga’s childhood in a Transkei rural village. His mother had to work and his father abandoned his family for another woman. Dlanga grew up with his grandfather and grandmother who, according to the author, ‘what she lacked in physical appearance, she made up for it in spirit’. His grandfather Kaiser is a well-respected and feared person in the village. From this setup, the reader gets a glimpse into a patriarchal society, a childhood that lacked material resources and often faced difficulties like getting a quality education.
The stories are written as standalone chapters so sometimes storylines are repeated or names, such as Dlanga’s grandfather’s name, is often introduced as if the reader is meeting the character for the first time. I felt that this made the book a little choppy. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the character that is Khaya Dlanga.