Eric Miyeni is perhaps best known to South African audiences for his acting roles in productions such as the film Cry The Beloved Country opposite James Earl Jones, the SABC television series Homecoming and the ground breaking Molo Fish. He was also a popular voice during his stint as a talk-show host on the national radio station SAfm in 2004. He has recently returned to SAfm to host a what has become a popular evening weekday programme, Eric M After Dark.
In 2001 Eric Miyeni started an e-zine called O'mandingo! which caught the imagination of readers from Johannesburg to Lagos , Accra to New York City . Thousands of readers hungry for his argumentative and sometimes controversial style became avid followers of the regular e-zine. The O'Mandingo! column has evolved into a book called O'Mandingo! The only black at the dinner party . It is a collection of opinion pieces covering a variety of subjects from politics to movies to sport and travel. Of the work, Miyeni says, ‘At the centre of this seemingly disparate collection of thoughts is one theme … black pride, black strength, black unity and black prosperity …. Black people have been brutalised for centuries. To heal, we need moments to be proud of. We need something that focuses our attention inwards to find joy and the will to be better and successful. The time to look outward, only to be rewarded with even more brutality, is behind us. O'Mandingo ! is an attempt to galvanise this transition from an outward into an inward search for validation.'
Eric Miyeni graduated with a BA (Law) degree from the University of Natal (Pietermaritsburg) and he is currently a partner and Creative Director at the communications company ChilliBush. O'Mandingo! The only black at the dinner party is his first published work. Miyeni's latest publications are follow ups to his previous title: O'Mandingo! Before Mandela was Mandela (2007), which contains pieces written prior to Nelson Mandela's release from prison; and O'Mandingo! A Poetic Journey with Eric Miyeni (2008). He has since had his volume of essays and photographs, A Letter from Paris, published in February 2010, based on his experiences of visiting Paris in 2007.
Courtesy of the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal).
2006. O'Mandingo! The only black at the dinner party. Johannesburg: Jacana Media.
2010. A Letter from Paris. Johannesburg: Pan Macmillan.