[The JRB digital exclusive] Read Issue #1 of eMagqumeni: Place of the Hills, a new graphic novel by Nathi Ngubane and Azad Essa

The JRB presents the digital debut of eMagqumeni: Place of the Hills, a new graphic novel by Nathi Ngubane and Azad Essa (editor).

eMagqumeni is currently being published in print in the Daily Dispatch in the Eastern Cape. The authors plan to publish the complete series as a graphic novel. 

Note from the authors:

Election season is here. You see the manifestos on the news, the T-shirts dancing at rallies and politicians walking around your neighbourhood. Many politiciansas they do every election seasonwill sell their campaign by bringing parcels and charming people to vote for them. These politicians will make false promises: of jobs and better incomes in the cities and of running water, electricity and clinics in villages. They will promise a return of land, of housing and decent living conditions. But we all know too well that little is likely to change; rural South Africa only serves as a voting bank.

It is with these concerns in mind that we began work on this graphic novel.

eMagqumeni: Place Of the Hills is the story of a village nestled on the Wild Coast, between KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. With its lush vegetation, beaches and valleys, but also its history of neglect and abandonment as a village far from the centres of power, eMagqumeni is both beautiful and despondent. It is the story of rural South Africa itself.

All these years after apartheid and the world has moved on, but in eMagqumeni, the basics have yet to arrive.

Here follows an excerpt from the book—a work-in-progress.

About the story

uMama Nolwazi Mkungu, a sixty-two-year-old living in eMagqumeni, is the village storyteller. She tells her grandchildren, Kwazi and Nongoma, about a little-known village secret.

In 1964, under the rule of King Jongikhaya Hlathi, the villagers are told that if they move to another part of the valley, their poverty and difficulties will be a thing of the past. Months after they move, their crops begin to die, the livestock become uncontrollable and it becomes clear that the climate has changed. Soon enough white businessmen are in the area and associates of the King have become wealthy overnight.

uMama Nolwazi and her friends find out that the King has discovered gold and is working with the apartheid government to mine there. Even as the villagers find out more about the corrupt project that is destroying the environment, they are still unsure how to question the King, until one day a guest arrives and organises a revolt.

eMagqumeni: Place of The Hills Issue #1 (20 pages)

eMagqumeni 1


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