Mère à Mère

Sarah Davies Cordova, translator; Montréal: Éditions Mémoire d’encrier, 2019

Davies Cordova, professor of French, translated Sindiwe Magona’s 1998 South African novel “Mother to Mother” (“Mère à Mère”) into French. It was nominated for the Pierre-François Caillé translation prize, created by the Société française des traducteurs (French Society of Translators). Drawing on the story of Amy Biehl’s murder, the novel takes the form of a letter from the amaXhosa mother of a Black South African boy to the mother of the American girl he killed. It explores the mother’s life under apartheid amid pressures from in-laws, police violence and escalating discontent in the townships. It paints a verbal picture of her son’s world, one she hopes explains her own grief and helps ease the American mother’s pain.