Wamuwi Mbao, Maaza Mengiste, Connor Cogill, Itumeleng Molefi, Adekeye Adebajo, Flora Veit-Wild, Bolu Babalola, Nakhane, Jacob Dlamini, Victor Dlamini, Shanice Ndlovu, Natasha Omokhodion-Kalulu Banda, Tymon Smith, Shanthini Naidoo
Welcome to the ninth issue of Volume 4 of The Johannesburg Review of Books.
The winner of the 2020 Booker Prize will be announced this evening. For the first time in years, the shortlist includes two African authors: Tsitsi Dangarembga and Maaza Mengiste. While we wait for the announcement, dip into their respective novels This Mournable Body and The Shadow King on The JRB.
In this issue, Wamuwi Mbao reviews The Lie of 1652 by Patric Tariq Mellet, a book that uncovers the debased half-truths installed as national narrative, while Itumeleng Molefi reports back on Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s new novel The First Woman, reading it as an answer to people who defend patriarchal power by claiming that feminism is ‘not African’.
Adekeye Adebajo appraises Colin Grant’s Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation, finding it to be an important and valuable text, which captures the voices that enriched British society for decades without proper recognition.
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that books make the best gifts, and this year we have more reason than ever to support our local bookshops. With that in mind, in this issue we feature excerpts from a number of new releases to brighten up the faces of your nearest and dearest this Christmas.
Natasha Omokhodion-Kalulu Banda‘s novel No Be From Hia, which was selected as a Graywolf Africa Prize finalist in 2019, is the talk of the town, and you can get the flavour of it in this issue. If it’s saucy short stories you’re after, Exhale is a new anthology of queer writing produced by HOLAA (Hub of Loving Action in Africa), and we’re pleased to feature an excerpt from a new story by Nakhane in this issue. You can also sample the debut collections of two exciting new authors: The Pride of Noonlay by Shanice Ndlovu and Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola.
For fans of non-fiction, we offer excerpts from Jacob Dlamini‘s fascinating new book Safari Nation: A Social History of the Kruger National Park, Women in Solitary: Inside the Female Resistance to Apartheid by Shanthini Naidoo, as well as an excerpt from Flora Veit-Wild’s long anticipated memoir, They Called You Dambudzo.
Our Photo Editor Victor Dlamini celebrates Pumla Dineo Gqola, who was recently awarded a research chair on African Feminist Imaginations at Nelson Mandela University.
In our poetry section this month, we’re excited to share new work from the talented young poet Connor Cogill.
Finally, feast your ears on a Joburg summer playlist by Tymon Smith.
Our header image this month comes from guest City Editor Lidudumalingani.
Here’s the complete breakdown of Vol. 4, Issue 9, which you will also find on our issue archive page:
- The archive has been rigged—Wamuwi Mbao reviews Patric Tariq Mellet’s The Lie of 1652, uncovering the debased half-truths installed as national narrative
- A triumph of a novel—Itumeleng Molefi reviews Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s The First Woman
- Tracing the rich tapestry of Black British life—Adekeye Adebajo reviews Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation by Colin Grant
- ‘As much as you want to have sex with a stranger, this is mostly research’—Read an excerpt from ‘The Fool’, new writing by Nakhane, from Exhale: Queer African Erotic Fiction
- ‘This is where all the light in the world has settled’—Read an excerpt from The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste
- ‘We touch down, and I pray for the land of my ancestors to be good to me’—Read an excerpt from No Be From Hia by Natasha Omokhodion-Kalulu Banda
- ‘Oppression and thwarted aspiration are no bar to an appreciation of nature’—Read an excerpt from Jacob Dlamini’s new book Safari Nation: A Social History of the Kruger National Park
- ‘I had got involved with Dambudzo Marechera’—Read an excerpt from Flora Veit-Wild’s new memoir, They Called You Dambudzo
- ‘Sometimes I would think, They had better interrogate me. At least there was contact.’—Read an excerpt from Women in Solitary: Inside the Female Resistance to Apartheid by Shanthini Naidoo
- ‘The morning that followed was crisp and clear. The air was sweet as only after slaughter’—Read an excerpt from Shanice Ndlovu’s debut collection of short stories, The Pride of Noonlay
- ‘A unique trick of the combination of love and time; the ability to keep one young’—Read an excerpt from Bolu Babalola’s debut collection of short stories, Love in Colour
- Boiling heat, followed by spectacular electric storms, followed by more boiling heat—a playlist for a Joburg summer, compiled by Tymon Smith
The JRB Daily
- [The JRB Daily] 2020 South African Literary Awards winners announced
- [The JRB Daily] Anna Burns wins the 2020 International Dublin Literary Award for her novel Milkman