First published in 1980, this is pre-eminent playwright Athol Fugard’s only novel. Tsotsi is a powerful and turbulent story set in the 1950s about Tsotsi, a Sophiatown gangster, who stalks the streets leaving pain and terror in his wake. Derelict and deprived, he treats life as it has always treated him, until a chance encounter brings about a strange redemption.
Tsotsi traces six days in the life of a ruthless young gang leader. When we meet Tsotsi, he is a man without a name who has repressed his past and now exists only to stage and execute vicious crimes. When he inadvertently kidnaps a baby, Tsotsi is confronted with memories of his own painful childhood, and this angry young man begins to rediscover his own humanity, dignity, and capacity to love. Athol Fugard is renowned for his relentless explorations of personal and political survival in apartheid South Africa — which include his now classic plays Master Harold and the Boys and The Blood Knot.