Adam Smyer • Wamuwi Mbao • Nadia Davids • Hemley Boum •
Nkiacha Atemnkeng • Esther Mirembe • Stella Nyanzi •
Rofhiwa Maneta • Mary Carman • Lidudumalingani • Victor Dlamini •
Allan Kolski Horwitz • Leïla Slimani • Aravind Adiga • Grace Musila •
C Pam Zhang • Kopano Ratele • Zimitri Erasmus
Welcome to the sixth issue of Volume 4 of The Johannesburg Review of Books.
In this month’s edition, Adam Smyer, Wamuwi Mbao, Hemley Boum and Nkiacha Atemnkeng take a measure of the recent Black Lives Matter protests; where we have come from and where we may be going.
Also in this issue, in continuing solidarity with the progressive literary community and all who fight racism and anti-Black violence, The JRB presents this Pan-African Anti-Racism and Solidarity reading list: a spreadsheet comprising more than three hundred titles by African and diasporan writers that we hope will prove useful as a resource to those seeking works by Black authors.
In our reviews section, Rofhiwa Maneta shares his thoughts on Imani Perry’s memoir Breathe, a book committed to the radical hope that sees Black boys as more than problems to be solved.
We also feature a selection of excerpts from books that consider, carefully and thoughtfully, the place of race in modern society.
Elsewhere in the issue, Nadia Davids shares a moving personal essay on the first forty days of the Covid-19 lockdown from her vantage in Cape Town, Guest City Editor Lidudumalingani reflects on reading books that make you write, Mary Carman reviews Debating African Philosophy, and Stella Nyanzi chats to Esther Mirembe about her prison poetry collection No Roses from My Mouth.
We feature excerpts from exciting new novels by C Pam Zhang and Aravind Adiga, as well as an excerpt from Sifiso Mzobe’s debut novel Young Blood, to celebrate its new international publishing deal. We are also pleased to share an exclusive excerpt from Sex and Lies, the first work of non-fiction in English from award-winning Moroccan author Leïla Slimani.
Photo Editor Victor Dlamini has contributed an image of legendary photographer George Hallett, who passed away this week. You can also read Victor’s tribute to Brother George on The JRB Daily.
Finally, in our poetry section, Allan Kolski Horwitz tears up the page with ‘NO ONE IS SAFE’.
Here’s the complete breakdown of Vol. 4, Issue 6, which you will also find on our issue archive page:
Black Lives Matter
- ‘They hate us like we murdered their entire family.’ Read Shelter In Place, an essay on anti-Blackness by Adam Smyer
- What continuities can be drawn from The Murder of Ahmed Timol in apartheid Joburg to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis? Wamuwi Mbao unpacks the debased tradition of police murdering civilians
- ‘Black people are not asking to be loved beyond reason’—Hemley Boum reflects on the Black Lives Matter protests during the coronavirus lockdown
- ‘I could easily be the next George Floyd. If I make just one unconscious mistake …’ Read ‘A letter from Texas’, by Nkiacha Atemnkeng
- ‘Thinking while black’—Read Grace A Musila’s essay from the award-winning book Black Academic Voices: The South African Experience
- Read ‘Black children and white dolls’ by Kopano Ratele, excerpted from his book The World Looks Like This From Here: Thoughts on African Psychology
- ‘Race matters. It matters because of the meanings we give to it.’ Read an excerpt from Race Otherwise: Forging a New Humanism for South Africa by Zimitri Erasmus
- ‘Writers do not write alone. They are always in the company of other writers’—Lidudumalingani reflects on reading books that make you write
- Philosophy in Africa, or Africa in Philosophy? Mary Carman reviews Debating African Philosophy: Perspectives on Identity, Decolonial Ethics and Comparative Philosophy
- ‘Does my chest sound tight to you?’ The first 40 days; notes from a South African lockdown, by Nadia Davids
- ‘It’s surreal that a coming-of-age story set in Umlazi has found another home in the USA’—International deal for Sifiso Mzobe’s debut novel Young Blood (Plus: Excerpt)
- ‘Those gold men really think this land belongs to them’—Read an excerpt from How Much of These Hills is Gold, C Pam Zhang’s debut novel, which reimagines the myth of the American West
- ‘The brown man in a white man’s city who is watching other brown men.’ Read an excerpt from Amnesty, the new novel from Man Booker Prize winner Aravind Adiga
- ‘I was anticipating that it would be banned before we even got it out’—Stella Nyanzi chats to Esther Mirembe about her prison poetry collection No Roses from My Mouth
- [Exclusive] Read an excerpt from Sex and Lies, the first work of non-fiction in English from award-winning Moroccan author Leïla Slimani
- George Hallett, 1942—2020, RIP
- How to make photographs that mattered—The JRB Photo Editor Victor Dlamini remembers George Hallett
- Elsa Joubert, 1922—2020, RIP
The JRB Daily
- ‘We made a mistake’—Media24 Books apologises for lack of diversity in literary awards judging panels
- Writers condemn the lack of diversity in the 2020 Media24 Books Literary Prizes
- Media24 Books Literary Prizes winners announced, including Jonny Steinberg, Trevor Sacks and Edyth Bulbring
- Zambian author Namwali Serpell shortlisted for Arthur C Clarke Award, the UK’s most prestigious prize for science fiction
- Youssouf Amine Elalamy wins 2020 Prix Orange du Livre en Afrique—a prize that celebrates French writing by African writers and publishers
- 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize regional winners announced—including Nigerian writer Innocent Chizaram Ilo