South African novelist Zakes Mda has a forthcoming novel titled Wayfarer’s Hymn. The novel will be published on October 16 by Penguin Random House South Africa.

Wayfarer’s Hymn tells the story of a boy whose desire to become a great famo musician leads him all the way from the Lesotho mountain region to Johannesburg where he comes up against the underworld of crime and gangs. Fans of Mda’s classic novel Ways of Dying are in for a delightful surprise. They get to reunite with Toloki and Noria, the two unforgettable characters on which the story is centered.

Mda is a creative writing professor based in Ohio. He won the hearts of readers with novels like Ways of Dying and The Heart of Redness, which have both become classics. The Wayferer’s Hymn is his 31st book, going by wikipedia’s data and comes barely 2 years after The Zulus of New York.

Congrats to Mda! Read the publisher’s novel below and stay tuned for pre-order info.

Master storyteller Zakes Mda takes us from Lesotho’s Mountain Kingdom to Joburg, the City of Gold, through the fascinating history of Lesotho’s traditional and everevolving famo music and a cast of memorable characters. We meet the boy-child minstrel and his surprising sister Moliehi, but readers who know the Mda classic WAYS OF DYING will relish also being reunited with Toloki, the professional mourner, and his beloved Noria again. Though each character is a joy to meet for the first time, and no knowledge of Mda’s prior body of work is required. Our minstrel hero is a wonderful, endearing character, an innocent in a world of fierce musical rivalry. Still playing a humble concertina in The Time of the Accordion, the boychild yearns to acquire his own accordion, and to win the attention of his famo music heroes, and indeed the admiration of all, with his musical prowess. But in heading to the great city where fortunes are made and lost, he becomes entangled in a darker world of organised crime and vicious gangs, which coalesce — as they do in real life today — round the warring famo music groups. Focused only on his art, but drawn by his fierce ambition to be a legendary musical creator and performer too, he is blind to the truths of love that are right in front of him.

With the wandering boy-child’s own story interwoven with the incredible yet true social history of the music, the Time of the Concertina and the Accordion — and the wars of the famo gangs, the battle for control of illegal mines, and more, WAYFARERS’ HYMNS is a resonant, triumphant new work. As Mda ends the novel, with his classic grace note: The end is always a journey… And what a journey!