Fools and Other Stories is a collection of five stories in which Njabulo Ndebele examines the complexities of life for black South Africans in the closing days of apartheid rule. This book won the Noma Award, the most impressive accolade in Africa and rendered Ndebele a powerful voice for cultural freedom in Africa. The stories have a common theme: they all concern the effects of apartheid on those who enforce it and those who endured its rule. In Fools and Other Stories, Ndebele brings to life harsh black township life with a sense of humor, rejecting the image of black South Africans as victims and instead emphasizing on the complexity and fierce energy of their lives.
Despite the fact that the weight of the apartheid is felt by every character in this collection, it is not an immediate, easily distinguishable presence. Using subtlety, Ndebele conveys the complex, even admirable, methods of survival and resistance that black South Africans have been compelled to devise. "Our literature," says Ndebele, "ought to seek to move away from an easy preoccupation with demonstrating the obvious existence of oppression. It exists. The task is to explore how and why people can survive under such harsh conditions."
Ndebele is now recognized as an important voice in South Africa’s fight for cultural freedom. In particular, Ndebele’s stories helped create a new tone in black South African literature that went beyond and finally overthrew apartheid.