The Johannesburg Review of Books Vol. 4, Issue 9 (November 2020)

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:


Creative nonfiction



Short stories





The JRB Daily

Cover image: Lidudumalingani

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.Required fields are marked *