Lauretta Ngcobo

The rural community of Ixopo, where Lauretta Ngcobo was born and brought up, is described in her novel, And They Didn’t Die (1990). She praises the unsung heroines, the rural women, whose struggles and complexities in harsh environments were further compounded by having to deal with the hardships of apartheid. As Lauretta Ngcobo’s husband was at the heart of the struggle against the apartheid regime she consequently was ‘married’ to the political struggles of the South African people. In 1963 Lauretta Ngcobo left South Africa, escaping imminent arrest, and went into exile with her husband and children, moving from Swaziland to Zambia and finally settling in England where she worked as a teacher for 25 years. In 1994 she returned to South Africa where she served as a member of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial legislature. Soon after she left South Africa, Lauretta started writing, but it was not until 1981 that her first book, Cross of Gold, was published. Let it be Told recounts the turbulent thoughts of black women writers in Britain in the 1980’s, told in their own words. Lauretta Ngcobo found writing for children, however, gave her the greatest challenge as a writer. She has also written and published many academic papers, attended many writers’ conferences, delivered papers in various universities and travelled extensively as a consequence. Of her book And They Didn’t Die, Prof Mazisi Kunene writes, “This is the most enlightened and balanced book written by a woman who is African and who understands clearly the circumstances of African women – their history and their personal anguish.’

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