by Thabo Jijana
Failing Maths and My Other Crimes by Thabo Jijana won the 2016 Ingrid Joker Award for Poetry. In haunting, sparse and beautiful verse, Thabo Jijana’s interrogation of masculinity, blackness and what it means to come of age is already becoming a South African classic. In a whirlwind of local history, contemporary culture, domestic angst, and nostalgia, this stunning debut exhibits an emotional wisdom beyond its writer’s years. Earthen and edgy, musical and minimal, Failing Maths and My Other Crimes is not solely a meditation on family and mortality, nor just a manifesto on the role of art in a young man’s life: this is a masterclass in South African storytelling-in-verse.
Thabo Jijana was born in 1988 in eNgqushwa. He is the author of two books: the memoir Nobody’s Business, as well as this collection, which garnered him the 2016 Ingrid Jonker prize. He is also the winner of the 2014 Sol Plaatje Poetry award, the 2011 Anthony Sampson Foundation Award, and a 2017 Taco Kuiper grant. Currently, he lives in Johannesburg, where he works as a publisher.
The first printing of this publication was made possible by a grant from the Arts and Culture Trust and Nedbank Arts Affinity.