Author(s): Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu
'On the third of September, not so long ago, something truly wondrous happened on the Beauford Farm and Estate. At the moment of her death, Imogen Zula Nyoni – Genie – was seen to fly away on a giant pair of silver wings ...'
As Imogen Zula Nyoni, aka Genie, lies in a coma at Mater Dei Hospital after having suffered through a long illness, her family and friends struggle to come to terms with her impending death. This is the story of Genie, who has gifts that transcend time and space. It is also the story of her forebears - Baines Tikiti, who, because of his wanderlust, changed his name and ended up walking into the Indian Ocean; his son, Livingstone Stanley Tikiti, who, during the war, took as his nom de guerre Golide Gumede and who became obsessed with flight; and Golide's wife, Elizabeth Nyoni, a country-and-western singer self-styled after Dolly Parton, blonde wig and all. With the lightest of touches, and with an overlay of magical-realist beauty, this novel sketches, through the lives of a few families and the fate of a single patch of ground, decades of national history (a country in Southern Africa that is never named) - from colonial occupation through the freedom struggle, to the devastation wrought by the sojas, the HIV virus, and The Man Himself. At turns mysterious and magical, but always honest, The Theory of Flight explores the many ways we lose those we love before they die.Winner of the 2019 Barry Ronge Fiction Prize'The Theory of Flight may be Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu's first novel, but it's written with the kind of excellence and detail one would expect of an author with decades of experience. Enchanting…you feel as if you're part of the very fabric this interconnected story is woven on. The book is a delightful, heartrending, thrilling and heartbreaking read that will leave the reader sad that they couldn't be a part of Genie's short yet impactful life.' – Pam Magwaza, Drum Magazine'Ndlovu is a gifted storyteller, skillfully interweaving the real and the magical, beauty and devastation, historical and personal perspectives, simplicity and complexity. She has a vivid imagination and the tale shimmers with magic…A marvellous and unusual flight of fancy. When Genie dies, and flies away on huge silver wings, she will take a little piece of your heart with her.' – Kate Sidley, Sunday Times'[Ndlovu has a] glorious gift of storytelling.' – Diane de Beer, Business Day.