Ways Of Staying

Kevin Bloom

Published: 1 April 2010
Trade Paperback, A5
148x210mm, 240 pages
ISBN: 9781846272653


As a journalist, Kevin Bloom had witnessed and reported on the rising tide of violence in post-Apartheid South Africa. But when his own cousin was killed in a vicious random attack, the questions he'd been asking about the troubling political and social changes in his country took on a sickeningly personal urgency. Suddenly, it felt as though this South Africa was no longer the place he'd grown up in or the place which felt like home. Still stunned by the loss, Bloom begins to trace the path of violence from the murder of his cousin in the hills of Zululand to the fatal shooting of the historian David Rattray, linking these individual crimes to the riven political landscape, and the riots and xenophobic attacks of 2008. Visceral, complicated and compassionate, Ways of Staying is an eloquent account of how the white community is coping with black majority rule, and in particular how one family is coping in the aftermath of their own private tragedy.

About the author

Image of Kevin Bloom

Kevin Bloom is an award-winning author, editor and investigative journalist. He is the co-author of Continental Shift: A Journey into Africa's Changing Fortunes, published by Portobello in April 2016. His first book, Ways of Staying (Portobello, 2010), was named amongst the best overall titles of the year by South African broadsheets Sunday Times, Sunday Independent and The Witness, and was shortlisted for both the University of Johannesburg Debut Prize and the Alan Paton Award, Africa's most prestigious non-fiction prize. It won the 2010 South African Literary Award for literary journalism. Kevin is an Honorary Writing Fellow at the University of Iowa, and a recipient of the WISER Writing Fellowship. His byline has appeared in Granta, The Guardian and The Daily Beast, amongst others, and he is a correspondent-at-large for South Africa's Daily Maverick. More about the author


Ways of Staying is a profoundly uncomfortable book. Motivated by the author's experience of no longer feeling at home in South Africa, it is also an important one ... with wide-eyed humanity, he tells complex, often difficult stories of individuals and how the senseless, shattering violence of events based in social and political changes have affected them. Prompted by trauma, Ways of Staying transcends being an angry book; instead Bloom's conclusions about what it means to stay in South Africa are both sensitive and powerfully resonant’ Tina Jackson



Ways of Staying is a remarkable book that should be read by all South Africans. Told with a journalist's eye for the deceptively normal, it is a layered story of love and stubborn allegiance to ideals by the nuanced characters, black and white, who have decided that South Africa is their only home’ Mandla Langa

‘A riveting examination of South Africa's chronic illness, murderous revenge mostly on whites but worryingly on foreign blacks too. I could not put this book down’ Janet Suzman

‘Bloom's writing has a whiff, but only a whiff, of Rian Malan's My Traitor's Heart. The whiff comes from the unflinching integrity with which he explores his theme. If you want pretty, this is not the book for you, but if you want a meaty but sensitive read, this will absorb and stretch you. Be prepared to be moved, angered and saddened ...’ Jenny Crwys-Williams

‘I also know that for every white person who packs his bag and leaves because the country is "going to the dogs", there is a Kevin Bloom keen to roll up his sleeves and make the best of this country he calls home’ Zukiswa Wanner

‘It's compulsive, like watching an accident happen’ Gillian Slovo, BBC2

‘Kevin Bloom is that rare creature - a local journalist who kept his head and a measure of cool objectivity even as South Africa teetered on the brink of madness. He is familiar with the darkest corners of our collective psyche, but he somehow renders the mess we're in with the lucid detachment of a New Yorker writer. This is a vanishingly rare achievement. Bloom's tales of who we are and how we got here should be read by everyone contemplating the agonising question that follows: where are we going?’ Rian Malan, author of MY TRAITOR'S HEART

‘Moving and at times very perceptive ... A disturbing but necessary book’

‘Spurred into deep thinking about the state of the nation by the brutal murder of his cousin at the hands of tooled-up, spaced-out thugs, Bloom pays a series of visits to the "real" people of his native country and Bloom considers all that they have to say about the country he calls home’ Gregor White

‘This is not a comforting book. But it is, partly for that reason, an essential one, tough-minded and deeply moving. Buy it; buy copies for your friends’ Michiel Heyns

‘This wide-ranging, but extremely readable book is neither ghoulish voyeurism nor political posturing’ Chris Waywell

‘Working as a journalist in post-apartheid South Africa, Bloom offers a nuanced insight into an increasingly violent and politically turbulent way of life in SA. It's a complex and unflinching State of the Nation assessment’

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