Welcome to the third issue of Volume 2 of The Johannesburg Review of Books.
In our March 2018 edition, hot off the press, we’re proud to feature an interview with our City Editor, Niq Mhlongo, on his newly published collection of short stories, Soweto, Under the Apricot Tree—as well as an exclusive excerpt from Nthikeng Mohlele‘s new novel, Michael K.
Mandla Langa demonstrates his deserved seniority in South African letters with an astoundingly rigorous piece on the late Keorapetse Kgositsile, excerpted from the former Poet Laureate’s final work, Homesoil in My Blood.
We also have our finger on the pulse of non-fiction, as Perfect Hlongwane reviews the book on everyone’s lips: The Land is Ours by Tembeka Ngcukaitobi.
Turning the focus to international publications, Wamuwi Mbao reviews Jesmyn Ward’s National Book Award-winning novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing, while Imraan Coovadia assesses the new Dave Eggers, The Monk of Mokha.
In our Temporary Sojourner series, Efemia Chela travels to Angola with José Eduardo Agualusa’s award-winning novel A General Theory of Oblivion.
This month we’re also excited to publish a new short story by a regular contributor, Mbali Sikakana—it’s her JRB fiction debut—as well as original poetry by Mikael Johani, a poet, critic and translator based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Our Photo Editor Victor Dlamini proffers striking portraits of Perfect Hlongwane and Yewande Omotoso.
We have some wonderful conversations in this issue, with Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa talking to Tiah Beautement about her memoir, Flame and Song, and Karin Schimke discussing poetry and her new collection, Navigate, with Antjie Krog.
For the politically-minded, Ray Hartley considers whether Cyril Ramaphosa is the man to lead South Africa out of its political and economic crisis, in an excerpt from his book Ramaphosa: The Man Who Would Be King.
Margie Orford, President Emerita of PEN South Africa, tells us more about the PEN International Women’s Manifesto, which will be launched on International Women’s Day on 8 March.
In Francophone news, we track the recent heated debate sparked by French President Emmanuel Macron and authors Alain Mabanckou and Véronique Tadjo, and dip into an excerpt from Tunisian author Azza Filali’s novel, Les Intranquilles.
Here’s the complete breakdown of Vol. 2, Issue 3, which you will also find on our issue archive page:
- ‘In looking behind us the way forward may become clear’—Perfect Hlongwane reviews The Land Is Ours by Tembeka Ngcukaitobi
- A novel that takes up Baldwin’s declaration that the story of America ‘is not a pretty one’: Wamuwi Mbao reviews Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing
- A real-life Yemeni-American hero: Imraan Coovadia reviews Dave Eggers’s new book, The Monk of Mokha
- [Temporary Sojourner] Efemia Chela reads José Eduardo Agualusa’s Angolan War thought experiment, A General Theory of Oblivion
- [City Editor] ‘I try to appreciate township solidarity without romanticising it’: Niq Mhlongo chats to Jennifer Malec about Soweto, Under the Apricot Tree
- ‘Writing allowed me to honour the connections between life and death’—Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa talks to Tiah Beautement about her memoir, Flame and Song
- ‘How does one take part in a national dialogue when your voice carries this baggage?’ Antjie Krog interviews award-winning poet Karin Schimke
- ‘What does the K in your name stand for?’ Read an excerpt from Nthikeng Mohlele’s new novel, Michael K
- Is Cyril Ramaphosa the man to lead South Africa out of its political and economic crisis? Read an excerpt from Ramaphosa: The Man Who Would Be King by Ray Hartley
- ‘Spending time with Bra Willie is the closest thing to being in touch with the soul of this country’: Read Mandla Langa’s Introduction to Keorapetse Kgositsile’s Homesoil in My Blood
- The PEN International Women’s Manifesto: ‘The act of silencing a person is to deny their existence. It is a kind of death’
- Mais non, Monsieur le Président! Alain Mabanckou and Véronique Tadjo take on Macron
- Skin and the Arab Spring: Read an excerpt from Tunisian author Azza Filali’s Les Intranquilles
The JRB Daily
- [The JRB Daily] Wamuwi Mbao: No, the award-winning film Inxeba isn’t a disrespectful gay sex romp
- [The JRB Daily] Thirty-eight Nobel laureates, including JM Coetzee, Kazuo Ishiguro and Wole Soyinka, write open letter to Turkey’s President Erdoğan over threats to freedom of expression
- [The JRB Daily] Caine Prize for African Writing Director Lizzy Attree stands down
- [The JRB Daily] 2017 Africa Centre Artists In Residency shortlists announced
Header image: Ben Williams