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Lewis Nkosi (born 1936) is a South African writer and essayist. Nkosi worked for many years in Durban for the magazine Ilanga lase Natal and in Johannesburg for Drum. Nkosi faced severe regulations on his writing due to the publishing regulations found in the Suppression of Communism Act and the Publications and Entertainment Act passed in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1961, he received a scholarship to study at Harvard, and he began his life in exile. Since then, he has been an editor for The New African in London, and the NET in the United States. He became a Professor of Literature and has held positions at the University of Wyoming and the University of California-Irvine, as well as at Universities in Zambia and Warsaw, Poland. Nkosi's work explores themes of politics, relationships, and sexuality. Interestingly, Nkosi joined forces with African powerhouse authors Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka in an interview in the third chapter of Bernth Lindfors' Conversations With Chinua Achebe. In 1978, Nkosi and composer Stanley Glasser wrote a collection of six Zulu - style songs called 'Lalela Zulu', for 'The King's Singers', a group of six white British, male A Capella singers.


Collections of essays

  • Home and Exile, Longmans, 1965
  • Home and exile and other selections, Longman, 1983, ISBN 0-58-264406-2
  • The Transplanted Heart: Essays on South Africa (1975)
  • Tasks and Masks: Themes and Styles of African Literature, Longman, 1981, ISBN 0-58-264145-4


  • The Rhythm of Violence(1964)
  • The Black Psychiatrist (2001)


  • Mating Birds, Constable, 1986, ISBN 0-09-467240-7 (Winner of the Macmillan Pen prize)
  • Underground People, Kwela, 2002, ISBN 0-79-570150-0, originally published in Dutch in 1994
  • Mandela's Ego (2006)



  • Conversations With Chinua Achebe Edited by Bernth Lindfors. University Press of Mississippi (October, 1997)
  • Southern African Writing: Voyages and Explorations edited by Geoffrey V. Davis. Rodopi (January, 1994)


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