“In Violet’s bedroom, most of the furniture had been moved, except for the bed whose mattress lay on the floor and carried the weight of an unconscious Violet. The wardrobe had been moved to the corner of the room and the table that had been near the window moved to the sitting room. There was a small mound where the table had occupied space, a small grave where Violet’s baby would be laid to rest. Uncle Sontaga had dug the grave with the help of Andzani and Neo. He had used his leg to determine its depth, and when it got to his knee, he’d resolved it was deep enough.”

A Soft Landing is a novel that explores the implications of a past not decisively dealt with. Wisani’s characters live lives that are mired in the questions and complexities that characterise Black life.

A Soft Landing is more than a coming-of-age tale; it is a poignant study of grief in its myriad of guises. Every one of the central characters in this novel has a precarious relationship to loss. This is an examination on the weight of grief, past and present in all its manifestations.

In this episode, we chat to Wisani Mushwana about his debut. We traverse topics such as homosexuality being unAfrican, weaponising shame, the cost of a human life, mental health, the implications of not dealing with trauma. We also delve into tender moments in the book, which include love, healing and hope.

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