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Deena Padayachee PDF Print E-mail

Deena Padayachee (1953 - ) was born in Durban in 1953 and grew up in rural Umhlali.  He graduated from Stanger High School.

He qualified as a medical doctor at the University of Natal and has worked at hospitals around KwaZulu-Natal, including King Edward VIII, Wentworth Plastic Surgery Unit, McCords hospital, Stanger hospital, and RKKhan hospital.  He has his own medical practice in Phoenix, Durban.

In 1982, Padayachee, together with his uncle, joined the South African Writers Circle.  Two writers there had a profound influence on his work.  Patricia Johnston advised him on how to turn satirical essays into short stories and Kathy Harden found him literary journals overseas (largely in the USA) that would publish these stories.  

His first short story was about the destruction of Mahatma Gandhi's home in Inanda in 1985, a calamity which he witnessed. The story titled 'The Visitor', was published in various literary journals including the Pen International Journal of London (1992) and the University of Cambridge's Writing from South Africa. It has since been translated into Tamil and Hindi and published in India.

His poems have been published in Wasafiri (London), Skive (Australia), CRUX, (USA), the Wild Water Review and The World Anthology of Love Poetry, edited by Dr Amitabh Mitra. In 1987 his poems were published in a volume called A Voice from the Cauldron.

Deena's short stories have been published in the USA, UK, Denmark, India and Canada. Some have been broadcast on radio and translated into Tamil and Hindi. In 2004 his book of short stories What's love got to do with it? was prescribed for matrics in KZN.

From 2004 to 2008 Deena Padayachee wrote a monthly column for the Sunday Times Extra called "Under the skin". He focussed on the challenges South Africa faces today, including the plight of many educationists and students, poverty, unemployment, injustice, crime and racism.

Padayachee is the founder of the Literary Network - a collection of academics, writers, and poets. The Network held literary meetings and had hosted Professor Heywood (who wrote a History of SA Literature), Rajesh Gopie the playwright and Prof Pallavi Rastogi of the University of Louisiana.

Extract from 'The Visitor'
Gandhi's home is looted and pulled apart by poverty stricken rioters on 9 August 1985.

There had always been a kind of unearthly peace in the old Ashram. A kind of freshness, a crispness of the air that left you exhilarated. The peace seemed to suffuse you and calm you no matter what the turmoil in your soul. Till that day when we looted the place. Somehow when that old man turned on his heel and strode off from the Ashram, all the peace in the place seemed to leave with him. And I didn't feel like stealing after that. In fact I felt quite miserable. I felt, God help me, like a horse in a fox-hunt, like a bullet from a gangster's gun.

But I kept the old desk. And at times when I look long and hard at it, I think that I can see the old man's face looking up at me, and his eyes seem bright with life.


Bibliography

1987. A Voice from the Cauldron.  [s.n]

1992. What's Love got to do with it? Fordsburg:  COSAW

1993. A Taste of Melting Chocolate. Manzini, Swaziland: Macmillan Boleswa.

Padayachee's short stories have been published in a variety of anthologies, among them including:

The Vita Collection.

The Hippogriff Short Story Collection.

The Finishing Touch and other stories (COSAW).

Modern South African Short Stories edited by Stephen Gray ( Johnathan Ball ) 2002.

Writing from South Africa - University of Cambridge Press.

The Reader's Digest's BEST SOUTH AFRICAN SHORT STORIES

The Penguin Book of Contemporary South African Short Stories: prescribed for a few years at the University of Durban Westville.

"Attitudes" by Juta.

A Century of South African short stories: Jonathan Ball.

New South African Writing by David Cooper - Denmark.

Omnibus of South African short stories edited by Professor Michael Chapman.

To kill a man's pride (Ravan Press) edited by Marcus Ramogale.

S. A. Indian Writing in English edited by Professor Rajendra Chetty.

The University of Aarhus' Kunapipi Literary journal.

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