Newtown Literary Contributor: Malcolm Chang

Writer Malcolm Chang’s piece “The Cruelty of Children” was featured in Issue #7 of Newtown Literary. Here, he gives the background for his work.


I grew up Chinese in apartheid era South Africa. The Chinese had arrived in several waves: In the late 19th Century to work on the railways, gold mines, and sugar cane fields. Most were repatriated.  My grandparents arrived after fleeing the communist takeover and to escape the second World War.

The Chinese made up a very small part of the population and as a result were marginalized as being neither Black or White. In fact, it was only in 1984 that the Chinese were excluded from the provisions of the infamous Group Areas Act which dictated where each population group could live and work.  I like to say that my Grandparents were considered more Black than White, but that my generation was more White than Black.  As a child, I was not permitted to attend the White public schools. My parents opted to enroll me in a private school rather than the local Chinese school, which was not well attended and had educational standards that they deemed inadequate for me.

It was in this unique milieu that I grew up, both in school and in larger social interactions, and it is these experiences which form the basis of my memoirs and memoir based fiction.

Thanks, Malcolm!

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