Es'kia Mphahlele (December 17, 1919 - October 27, 2008) was a South African writer, academic, arts activist and Afrikan Humanist. Named Ezekiel at birth, he changed his name to Es'kia in 1977.
Mphahlele's first book of short stories, Man Must Live, was published in 1947. Banned from teaching by the apartheid government in 1951, Mphahlele supported himself and his family through a series of clerical jobs before leaving South Africa to teach in the British Protectorate of Basutoland. On his return to South Africa, Mphahlele soon found a job as a journalist on the innovative popular magazine Drum, under its editors Anthony Sampson and later under Sylvester Stein, while studying for a Master's degree by correspondence at UNISA (The University of South Africa). Es'kia Mphahlele's life and work is currently found in the efforts of The Es'kia Institute  a non-governmental, non-profit organisation based in Johannesburg.
During the 1950s Mphahlele became increasingly politicised, and joined the African National Congress in 1955. Disappointed in ANC approach to matters of education - he later disassociated himself from the organisation. In 1957, Mphahlele was offered a job teaching in a Church Mission Society school in Lagos, Nigeria. Unwilling to permit him to travel abroad because of his political activities, the South African government finally granted him a passport in September 1957.
Mphahlele spent the following twenty years in exile: first in Nigeria, and subsequently in Kenya, where he was director of the Chemchemi Cultural Centre; Zambia; France and the United States, where he earned a doctoral degree from the University of Denver and taught at the University of Pennsylvania. Mphahlele returned to South Africa in 1977 and joined the faculty of the University of the Witwatersrand.
The African Image (1962)