If you know anything about legendary African writers then you should know about Mariam Tlali. She was definitely a gift to Africa and indeed mankind with her writings. Mariam Tlali was one of the greatest figures South Africa has ever produced. She was the first black South African woman to publish a novel. which is indeed a “big deal.”

Amandla by Mariam Tlali (goodreads.com)

Mariam Tlali passed on  February, 2017 and her death was a great loss that saddened the literary world. The commemoration of her passing this year was a reminder of her exploits and the books she blessed this generation with.


Quite a number of Mariam Tlali’s books were banned being that she started to publish in the Apartheid era. Notable among such books is “Amandla” which was based on the Soweto uprising of 1976. It was stated in her profile published by News24 that Mariam, who matriculated at 15, said her passion for reading at a young age was birthed by “very good teachers.”


It was recorded by SA History the Mama Mariam wanted to study literature at the University of Witwatersrand but was declined admission because she didn’t support the reservation of positions for whites. She opted for the University of Lesotho instead but had to drop out due to lack of funds. She went on to get a job as a bookkeeper.

Between Two Worlds by Mariam Tlali (broadwayviewpress.com)

Regardless of the challenges she faced Mama Mariam did not forsake her zest for writing, publishing several notable works that received amazing accolades. Some of the awards she received include, National Orders Recipients in 2008, and The Order of Ikhamanga (silver). Some of the books she wrote include Amandla, Mihloti, and Between Two Worlds.

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