The Johannesburg Review of Books Vol. 3, Issue 4

Bongani Madondo • Rofhiwa Maneta • Mubanga Kalimamukwento • Tymon Smith • Mbali Sikakana • Hedley Twidle • Sandile Ngidi • Wamuwi Mbao • Victor Dlamini • A Bouna Guazong • Athena Farrokhzad • Sifiso Mzobe • Nathi Ngubane • Azad Essa • Gideon Mendel • Efemia Chela


JohannesburgWelcome to the fourth issue of Volume 3 of The Johannesburg Review of Books.

This month, to mark what would have been the forty-fifth birthday of K Sello Duiker, Bongani Madondo fields questions about his old friend from the writer Rofhiwa Maneta.

In new book reviews, Wamuwi Mbao reads Diana Evans’s new novel Ordinary People, which has been longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize and the Women’s Prize for Fiction, while Tymon Smith assesses the much-hyped new novel from Marlon James, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, finding it a frustrating could’ve, would’ve, should’ve affair.

In an excerpt from his forthcoming book Experiments with Truth, Hedley Twidle revisits Dugmore Boetie’s Familiarity is the Kingdom of the Lost, a memoir first published in 1969, by a writer long considered a joker in the pack of Sophiatown-era life writing.

Our new short fiction this month is by A Bouna Guazong, titled ‘Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!’, and is excerpted from Of Passion and Ink: New Voices from Cameroon, the debut publication from Bakwa Books.

Mbali Sikakana speaks to Michael Barron, editor at Melville House Publishing in the United States, about the presence, or lack thereof, of South African writing in international spaces.

We’re delighted to present the first look at Mubanga Kalimamukwento’s forthcoming novel The Mourning Bird, which won the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award this year.

From our Photo Editor Victor Dlamini this month, original portraits of Charl-Pierre Naudé and Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali.

In our poetry section, we feature previously unpublished poetry by Sandile Ngidi, as well as an excerpt from White Blight, the award-winning collection by Swedish poet Athena Farrokhzad.

Graphic novel fans will want to take a look at eMagqumeni: Place of the Hills, a new project by Nathi Ngubane and Azad Essa, which has its digital debut on The JRB.

Sifiso Mzobe shows his fellow scribe, and JRB City Editor, Niq Mhlongo around his hometown of Durban during the Time of the Writer Festival.

In Francophone news, Kigali-based Huza Press has just released the English translation of Yolande Mukagasana’s Not My Time To Die, one of the first civilian testimonies of the Rwandan Genocide. We also reveal the six finalists for the Prix Orange du Livre en Afrique, a new prize for a book written in French by an African author and published by a local publishing house.

The cover image for the April 2019 issue of The JRB is by Gideon Mendel, from his new exhibition ‘Damage’, on display at the Apartheid Museum until the end of June 2019. Find out more about the exhibition here.

Here’s the complete breakdown of Vol. 3, Issue 4, which you will also find on our issue archive page:






Short fiction


City Editor

Francophone news

The JRB Daily

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