Can Themba

(2201 words)
  • Robin Peter Gaylard (University of Stellenbosch)

Can Themba was perhaps the most talented of the writers associated with Drum magazine and Sophiatown in the 1950s. He was born in Marabastad (Pretoria) in 1924 and won the first Mendi Memorial Scholarship to study at Fort Hare. He graduated with a first-class degree in English in 1947 and taught at Madibane High School in Western Township (Johannesburg). In 1953 his short story “Mob Passion” won Drum’s first short story competition, and Themba resigned his teaching post to work as a reporter on Drum and subsequently on Drum’s sister publication, The Golden City Post. His exploits as a hard-drinking, fast-living journalist and man-about-town were legendary, and his house in …

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Gaylard, Robin Peter. "Can Themba". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 August 2009
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]