Mphahlele, Es'kia (Ezekiel Es'kia Mphahlele) [key], 1919–2008, South African writer, grad. Univ. of South Africa (M.A., 1956). He began his career as a writer for Drum magazine after World War II and he published his first stories, Man Must Live, in 1947. He emigrated from South Africa in 1957, when the government banned him because of his stand against apartheid. He received a Ph.D. from the Univ. of Denver (1968) and left a full professorship at the Univ. of Pennsylvania to return to South Africa in 1977. In 1978 he became the first black professor at Witwatersrand Univ. and founded the African literature dept. there. His Down Second Avenue (1959) is a moving, vivid account of growing up in South Africa; it has become a classic of modern African literature. His novel The Wanderers (1969) was banned for many years in South Africa. Another novel, Chirundu (1980), takes place in an imaginary African country. He also published two volumes of essays.
See his later autobiography Afrika My Music (1984) and selected letters (1984); studies by U. A. Barnett (1976), T. Akosu (1995), and R. Obee (1999).
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