Endings & Beginnings


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The perpetrators were never found, and the neighbourhood continued to talk about how he had to be buried without his eye. And then Redi meets Mabegzo: handsome, charming and smooth; Mabegzo, rumoured gangster, murderer and rapist, a veritable 'jack-roller' of the neighbourhood.

Endings…& Beginnings

Against her family's wishes she develops a strong and sometimes uncomfortable attraction to him. Redi herself doesn't understand why she is drawn to Mabegzo and why, at eleven, she feels the way that she does for this man known to many as a menace. Then he too is found lying dead in a pool of blood, two years after the death of her father.

Redi has to remind herself to stay sane.

Endings and beginnings is Redi's quest to find out the truth about the circumstances surrounding her father's death. As an adult she visits his grave and decides to find the people that killed her father and ask them why. She also goes on a quest to finally humanise Mabegzo who was hated and abhorred by so many when he was alive. I did not have a Mabegzo I loved the book and read it in two days. I did not have a Mabegzo in my life but as I read the book, I finally started to understand why I am the way I am. I realized that I have some areas in my life that need healing and that the events that took place cannot be changed, but I can face them with a positive attitude and ensure that they don't destroy me.

Jan 05, Marta Mendes rated it it was amazing. I have always admired Redi's gutsy interviewing skills. Her almost fearless ability to focus on the relevant issues, issues that impact the very fabric of South African life.

Endings and Beginnings

After reading this book, I admire her even more. I couldn't put this book down because it is set in Joburg, my home town, and it highlighted issues which are so important to me. The plight of woman and children in townships, the importance of open, loving families, about the power and influence of adults on the youth. It i I have always admired Redi's gutsy interviewing skills. It is filled with so much tragedy, but it was also filled with hope, love and strength. Feb 10, Sandy Mohonathn rated it it was amazing.

Awsome read - taught me so much more about the culture I belong to and have so much more respect for the woman I already respect in our townships. Living abroad from my country of birth temporarily made this even more meaningful for me. A definite must read for all woman locally in SA and beyond - depicts the role woman play in raising both the male and female generation. Well done Redi - you make me Proud to be a South African. Jul 14, Siyamthanda Skota rated it liked it. The book cover needs deep focus and concentration to try and figure out the message it's trying to communicate with the reader.

It's a woman who seems to be walking away from what seems to be the darkest past to new beginnings with sunflowers mushrooming and blossoming all around her. And then the title completes the picture "Endings and Beginnings: A story of Healing". Here, she recalls her childhood in detail, plainly, movingly, sometimes amusingly, but without a trace of self-pity or bitterne The book cover needs deep focus and concentration to try and figure out the message it's trying to communicate with the reader.

Here, she recalls her childhood in detail, plainly, movingly, sometimes amusingly, but without a trace of self-pity or bitterness. I understand that Tlhabi's book main aim is to make us understand the scourge of violence in our societies but I also think that it is a story of a woman. A woman who was not only shamed by her perpetrators for raping her at a very tender age, but a woman who was also shamed by her family for being ashamed to speak out and fight for her life. A family that didn't know better, a family that thought they were protecting her while they were destroying every single part of her soul.

People spend outrageous amounts to bury their family members in a dignified way. They want the community to see that they also can afford. And in the end they end up suffering from unnecessary debts. Young boys are involved in trends that require them to spend outrageous amounts just so they can fit in. Izikhothane is a good example of this.

But hiding family tragedies and trying to impress others always ends up destroying souls, because no one is completely happy in such situations. The book has a very happy ending. As you approach the very last pages you find your mind galloping ahead and wondering how the story will end. But don't be fooled, it's not your average predictable happy ending. It's the kind that leaves you with profound sense of confusion. Confused with lots of questions and a troubled soul, and all the questions are about the scourge of violence in our society and how we all can get together, find humanity in us and hopefully heal our souls to transform our society into a better place for all.

Aug 17, Karin rated it it was amazing. I loved this book. It was intriguing because it unpeeled layers of South African society to reveal the origins of many hurts and dysfunctional relationships. The main character, Mabegzo, was on the one hand so violent and brutal but on the other hand he was searching for Love and acceptance. Redi managed to bring out the best of him and reveal a hope that he could have turned out differently had he had a more loving and nurturing family life. The secrets his family kept from each other were like I loved this book.

The secrets his family kept from each other were like a malignant Cancer which eventually lead to his downfall. A must-read for anyone who loves South Africa and wants to gain an understanding of township life. Aug 11, Lynn Weisz rated it it was amazing. I was not keen to pick up this book.

beginnings -> endings -> beginnings - JustMyTypeMag

And perhaps there was good reason to initially resist. The darkness is heart wrenching It tears at your belief in hope for the future of this scarred country. Yet Tlhabi manages to balance the darkness with the light of individuals who put their necks out and offered support , love and goodness at a time when it seemed that decency and humanity had been lost. And all is not black and white. The monstrous gangsters of her past had very human sides. It was soci I was not keen to pick up this book. It was society that failed them. What an incredibly challenging childhood to have come out of!

How very inspiring! This should be made a textbook for all young South Africans. Nov 29, Pashnee Naidoo rated it it was amazing. Redi Thlabi is a great storyteller, I could put this book down. This story is riveting and captivating, there a moments of utter sorrow and then simple joys of a bond of a father and daughter.

Set in Orlando West, Soweto it transported me back in time and gave me a glimpse of that life. Awesome read. Mar 02, Alison Smith rated it liked it. Astonishingly candid. Reader gains a fascinating insight into urban black life and family norms; also the strong influence of rural and traditional cultural roots.

If you want to understand current South African social dynamics - read this book. Jan 11, Mamotladi Matloga rated it it was amazing. After postponing this read for almost two years, I finally picked it up, read and finished it within a few days because I simply could not put this one down. Endings and Beginnings evoked different emotions — sadness, fear, anger, pride, laughter and joy. The setting of the story itself reminded me of my own rural upbringing during the apartheid era. I marvelled both at the similarities and differences between rural and township lives in Sou After postponing this read for almost two years, I finally picked it up, read and finished it within a few days because I simply could not put this one down.

I marvelled both at the similarities and differences between rural and township lives in South Africa. I reflected at the dissimilarities between the apartheid soldiers that roamed the streets of Soweto — mostly angry — and those I witnessed in my village as a child — who often gave us children, some sweets, despite the disapproval of our parents and older siblings, who were not treated nearly as good. But more than anything, I was reminded of the common human need to connect, and to belong.

I highly recommend Endings and Beginnings. It is an extremely well-written book and I truly did not want the story to end. Dec 06, Samantha Curley-Young rated it it was amazing. Redi has the gift of being able to tell a story in such a lovely way. I read this book in 3 days and I was shocked and horrified to understand how children grow up on townships and how a meeting of souls can truly change a whole communities outlook on life.

LOVED this book! Nov 28, Tilly Ngope rated it really liked it. We can be naive about things at times and always want to see good in other people. I was really touched by how she cared for a man everyone feared and showed him love in his time of need reuniting grand mother and grandchild.

Once again people chose how to live their and let their circumstances determine their way forward. Apr 26, Thandeka Mtshali rated it really liked it. This is a beautiful story told by Redi. This story could have been any black South Africans story. I did get a little irritated at Redi questioning though in some of the chapters, I guess it was the journalist in her. Feb 06, Lorna rated it it was amazing. Very powerful and moving book! Most times we judge the ending, never having understood the beginning. Understanding the beginning does not necessarily mean condoning the wrong deeds, but it puts them into perspective and gives them context so that we may do things better the next time around.

Thank you for sharing this story Redi! Mar 01, Marion Roux rated it really liked it. After his death and when she has grown up, she searches out his family and friends in an attempt to understand him and why she is haunted by her love for him. She also eventually reconnects various members of his family. Apr 22, Lesego rated it it was amazing. Never related to a book like i did to this one. I could feel the empathy redi had for mabegzo, i could feel her affection for him, i could visualize him.

This book evoked serious emotions. I read it twice. Aug 15, Gillian rated it it was amazing Shelves: , biography , south-african. Redi Thlabi does that, speaking straight into the heart of so many South Africans with her memories of Mabegzo, the gangster she befriended when still a child, who seemed to be hated and feared by so many. What made Mabegzo as he was? Who was his mother and where was she?

Thlabi answers these questions in a warm yet perceptive way. It is more than the tale of an unlikely friendship though, and how families are made and destroyed.

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I also loved reading how she grew up in Soweto, and about the power of her father's love even after he died and how this helped to form her view of men in a culture where women are often so devalued. Aug 07, Colleen rated it really liked it. A multi-layered book. There is the personal story, the author's relationship as an 11 year old, with a 20 year old gangster. Redi Tlhabi has used the writing of the book to work through her relationship, and what still haunts her about it.

In delving into her past, and his, she also produces a story of growing up in a volatile society during the s in South Africa, a story of growing up in a black township, growing up in a society that was only just holding itself together and had little time A multi-layered book. In delving into her past, and his, she also produces a story of growing up in a volatile society during the s in South Africa, a story of growing up in a black township, growing up in a society that was only just holding itself together and had little time or compassion for youngsters.

Young girls like Tlhabi were always aware of the threat of rape, and it was accepted as normal. Many children, like Tlhabi's friend Mabegzo, grew up in disturbed family circumstances and suffered greatly as a result. The personal stories go a long way to explaining why South Africa remains such a violent society. Nov 14, Cynthia Nkosi rated it really liked it. Love the book. From Chpt 8 I just could put it down but I had to. The beginning of the book was to narrative for my liking, but eventually Redi, starts bringing you into the story. She brings you into the room, the car, the house where the story is being told like a fly on the wall.

The empathy she has for the people involved in Mabegzo's life is astonishing. Oh my word this woman! I wanted to shake her a few time. Oh MmeEmelda!!! Such a darling, been through so much and turn WOW!!! Such a darling, been through so much and turn out this way!


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I love that Redihentse is so selfless in seeking closure and understanding about him and his life. What a great gift she's given to him. I love that the book is not ONLY about Redi's personal journey, but about the experiences that shaped the people in the book which led to her journey.

May 30, Janine rated it really liked it. An interesting look at what shapes a criminal. The author explores themes of friendship, forgiveness and love. She forms a relationship with a well know gangster at the age of 11 who she meets in the area she grew up in.

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Set in Soweto, it explores life growing up in the township in apartheid South Africa. Extreme violence, rape and poverty all realities of living in the township. Some of it was hard to read. It also reads a bit like a interview at times but definitely worth a read! A bit of an e An interesting look at what shapes a criminal.


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A bit of an eye opener about life in the townships. Dec 13, Zozo Mogoera rated it really liked it. Could not put this book down. Read it in two sittings. Having grown up in Orlando East myself around same period, am disappointed that I don't remember Mabegzo.

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Endings & Beginnings Endings & Beginnings
Endings & Beginnings Endings & Beginnings
Endings & Beginnings Endings & Beginnings
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