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This article does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2011) Phaswane Mpe (September 10, 1970–December 12, 2004) was a South African poet and novelist. He was educated at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he was a lecturer in African literature. His debut novel, Welcome to Our Hillbrow, was published in 2001. Mpe was born in the northern city of Polokwane, and moved to Johannesburg at the age of 19 to attend university. Due to his lack of money he ended up living in the deprived inner city area of Hillbrow, a place where he later set his first novel. Welcome to Our Hillbrow was an important work as it was the first novel to deal with the changes of inner-city life in South Africa in the ten years since Nelson Mandela and F. W. de Klerk engineered apartheid's demise. Far from enjoying the freedoms allowed by democracy, the book depicts the native black South Africans facing the new challenges of poverty, unemployment, and HIV/AIDS. The only black people who benefited from apartheid, according to Mpe, were the better educated immigrants from other parts of Africa. Xenophobia towards these black immigrants is another core theme of the novel; it was widely felt in the inner-cities that it was these people who were responsible for the explosion of HIV in South Africa. HIV and AIDS were common themes in his work, unsurprising considering the prevalence of the disease in South Africa, and before his death he embarked on doctorate studies on sexuality in post-apartheid South African literature with a particular focus on these two issues. Mpe died suddenly at the age of 34 from an unknown illness (almost certainly HIV-related), at the time he was about to begin training as a traditional healer. Persondata Name Mpe, Phaswane Alternative names Short description Date of birth September 10, 1970 Place of birth Date of death December 12, 2004 Place of death