Houze, David 1965-

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Houze, David 1965-


Born 1965, in Durban, South Africa; immigrated to the United States, 1966; son of David Houze (a merchant marine), and Yvonne Houze. Education: Attended Morehouse College; University of Georgia, A.B.J, 1992; Columbia University School of Journalism, master's degree, 2001.


Journalist. Participated as election observer in South Africa election, 1994, and of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission proceedings in Cape Town; works with EcoAfrica, Cape Town.


Twilight People: One Man's Journey to Find His Roots, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2006.


Born in South Africa during the harsh years of apartheid, David Houze moved with his mother to Mississippi when he was toddler, only to experience American-style racism during the height of the civil rights movement. Decades later, he discovered that three girls in a photo he had once seen were the older sisters he never knew he had, and who had been left in South Africa by their mother when she immigrated to the United States with her son. Stunned, Houze set out to find them. His account of this search, Twilight People: One Man's Journey to Find His Roots, was praised as an eloquent, honest, and moving memoir.

Observing that Houze's depiction of 1960s-era Mississippi offers little that is fresh or original, Creative Loafing Charlotte writer Thomas Bell found that "once Houze gets to South Africa, the story gets good." It was 1992, and apartheid was still the law. Though the country was moving toward change, resistance from many whites was fierce, and violence was commonplace. Witnessing scenes of white power and wealth contrasted with black poverty and oppression, Houze described South Africa as "a relic of some discredited, soon-to-be-dismantled civilization hanging on to the last gasp of white privilege." Critics admired Houze's frankness in discussing his family, particularly his mother, a "coloured" woman who had married an American merchant marine and wanted to join him in the United States. Her daughters were not Houze's biological children, and she decided it would be best to leave them in Durban. Their father told the girls that their mother had abandoned them. Houze eventually finds his sisters, but, as Essence reviewer Douglass Danoff noted, "nothing wraps up neatly" in this book. But this, Danoff added, doesn't matter, because the book's real "magic" is the author's journey to find himself.



Twilight People: One Man's Journey to Find His Roots, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2006.


Booklist, May 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Twilight People, p. 67.

Bookwatch, July, 2006, review of Twilight People.

Essence, May, 2006, Douglas Danoff, "Brotherly Love: A Man's Journey to Find His Estranged South African Siblings," p. 86.

Library Journal, June 1, 2006, Dale Farris, review of Twilight People, p. 130.

Midwest Book Review, July 1, 2006, review of Twilight People.


Creative Loafing Charlotte,http://charlotte.creativeloafing.com/ (May 10, 2006), Thomas Bell, "Of South Africa and the South."