Focusing upon the rural and rugged lives in South Africa, Masande Ntshanga’s The Reactive is refreshing. This tale opens a fresh and harshly realistic door into South African literature.
The novel follows the life of Lindanathi Mda. Lindanathi is an HIV positive young man selling his antiretroviral drugs on the black market. What were to be expected were, of course, the hardships of Lindanathi’s life suffering from HIV. Also, an insight into the world of a city full of poverty and disease.
However, Ntshanga takes a twist and in fact focuses the novel upon Lindanathi’s grief over losing his half-brother Luthando ten years ago. With the novel making sure AIDS, poverty and politics still play a big part throughout; the story focuses strongly on friendships and struggling in the beginning years of adulthood in Cape Town.
Lindanathi’s name actually means ‘wait for us’, and that is exactly what the novel does. It encourages the reader to wait for him and his friends as they struggle and work their way into adulthood in a city that is deprived and unstable.
Ntshanga has written a story in a lyrical, bright and vibrant manner to represent the secrets and life-changing events in one man’s life that is plagued by poverty and disease. An emotional, exciting and gripping read to definitely get your hands on.
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