The Johannesburg Review of Books Vol. 4, Issue 7 (August 2020)

Carey Baraka • Rustum KozainPetina Gappah • Fiona Zerbst
Wamuwi Mbao • Efemia Chela • Lidudumalingani • Angelo Fick
Arja Salafranca • Fred Khumalo • Tymon Smith
Makhosazana Xaba • Victor Dlamini • Imraan Coovadia
Barbara Boswell • Ivan Vladislavić • Mark Gevisser

Welcome to the seventh issue of Volume 4 of The Johannesburg Review of Books.

In this issue, Carey Baraka investigates the unspoken demise of Kwani?, and the death of a dream, and Angelo Fick reflects on 150 days of lockdown.

In a JRB exclusive, read the first act of Petina Gappah’s new Dambudzo Marechera play, Black Sunlight.

If it’s book recommendations you’re after, The JRB Poetry Editor Rustum Kozain offers a glowing a review of Fiona Zerbst’s new collection of poetry, In Praise of Hotel Rooms, The JRB Francophone and Contributing Editor Efemia Chela travels to Mozambique with Mia Couto’s novel Confessions of a Lioness, Wamuwi Mbao reviews Nudibranch by 2020 Caine Prize winner Irenosen Okojie, and Arja Salafranca looks at The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World’s Queer Frontiers by Mark Gevisser.

This month, Guest City Editor Lidudumalingani considers Johannesburg’s obvious and hidden histories, and reveals his plans for the next few issues.

From our Photo Editor Victor Dlamini, a portrait of Tsitsi Dangarembga, who was longlisted for 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction in July, before being arrested during a protest in Harare days later. She was later released on bail.

We also feature excerpts from some exciting new books, Barbara Boswell’s And Wrote My Story Anyway: Black South African Women’s Novels as Feminism; Heart of a Strong Woman: A Memoir by Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema, as told to Fred Khumalo; a piece on JM Coeetzee’s literary imagination from Imraan Coovadia‘s Revolution and Non-Violence in Tolstoy, Gandhi, and Mandela; and Mark Gevisser’s The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World’s Queer Frontiers.

A new collection of poems by the late Chris van Wyk titled My Mother’s Laughter has been released, and we’re pleased to present The JRB Patron Ivan Vladislavić’s Introduction to the book in this issue.

You can also feast your ears on an apocalypse playlist, compiled by Tymon Smith, and listen to The JRB Patron Makhosazana Xaba on the WiSER Podcast, discussing the life and work of Noni Jabavu.

Here’s the complete breakdown of Vol. 4, Issue 7, which you will also find on our issue archive page:




City Editor




Book excerpts

The JRB Daily

Cover image: Jennifer Malec

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