Biography & Memoir

‘I was an identity-less person at the mercy of apartheid officials’—Read an excerpt from Cleaner’s Boy: A Resistance Road to a Liberated Life by Patric Tariq Mellet

The JRB presents an excerpt from Patric Tariq Mellet’s autobiography Cleaner’s Boy: A Resistance Road to a Liberated Life. Cleaner’s…


‘Someone tried to break into my house while I was writing this book’—Christopher McMichael talks to mpho ndaba about his new book Shoot to Kill: Police and Power in South Africa

Christopher McMichael sat down with mpho ndaba to discuss violent policing, its historical origins, and his new book Shoot to…


‘Your story told by someone else might in the end be richer’—Wamuwi Mbao reviews Culture and Liberation, the first dedicated collection of Alex La Guma’s exile writing

Culture and Liberation: Exile Writings, 1966–1985Alex La GumaEdited by Christopher J LeeSeagull Books 1966 was an interesting year. Future Trump…


‘I was constantly weaving fact and fiction, and blurring truth with fable’—CA Davids chats to Efemia Chela about her new novel How to Be a Revolutionary

Contributing Editor Efemia Chela speaks to CA Davids about her new novel, How to Be a Revolutionary. How to Be a RevolutionaryCA…


‘Navigating the reality of his blackness in an oppressive state’—Read an excerpt from Can Themba: The Making and Breaking of the Intellectual Tsotsi by Siphiwo Mahala

The JRB presents an excerpt from Siphiwo Mahala’s new biography, Can Themba: The Making and Breaking of the Intellectual Tsotsi….


‘They wrote to each other frequently, exchanged intellectual banter, confided in each other’—Siphiwo Mahala chats about his new play, Bloke and His American Bantu

The JRB presents an interview with Siphiwo Mahala about his new play, Bloke and His American Bantu.  Bloke and His…


‘Where is the last rational place left in the world, for heaven’s sake?’—Lebohang Mojapelo interviews Wole Soyinka on his new novel, Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth

Lebohang Mojapelo interviews Wole Soyinka on his new novel. Chronicles From the Land of the Happiest People on EarthWole SoyinkaBloomsbury,…


Johannesburg’s Place of Good Hope—Read an excerpt from Amakomiti: Grassroots Democracy in South African Shack Settlements by Trevor Ngwane

The JRB presents an excerpt from Trevor Ngwane’s forthcoming book Amakomiti: Grassroots Democracy in South African Shack Settlements.  Amakomiti: Grassroots…


To move about in an unkind world under the mark of racial blackness—Wamuwi Mbao reviews Scatterlings, the debut novel by Rešoketšwe Manenzhe

Wamuwi Mbao reviews Rešoketšwe Manenzhe’s novel Scatterlings, winner of the 2020 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award. ScatterlingsRešoketšwe ManenzheJacana Media, 2020 There…

Book excerpts

‘Calls for television grew louder in 1969, after the rest of the world got to see Neil Armstrong walk on the moon’—Read an excerpt from William Dicey’s new book 1986

The JRB presents an excerpt from 1986, the new book by William Dicey. 1986William DiceyPenguin Random House SA, 2021 ~~~…

Creative non-fiction

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

The abolition of slavery, formalised gender discrimination, apartheid and other reprehensible ways of being did not occur simply through continued…


Writing Athlone—Gabeba Baderoon’s latest poetry collection The History of Intimacy maps the small hurts of apartheid, writes Toni Giselle Stuart

Toni Giselle Stuart reviews Gabeba Baderoon’s poetry collection The History of Intimacy, which won the 2019 University of Johannesburg Main…


‘I will always love Africa, because from the minute I arrived it treated me like a white girl.’—Author Adam Smyer reflects on his visit to the Open Book Festival

The following is an edited excerpt from a work in progress by American author Adam Smyer, whose debut novel, Knucklehead,…


‘South Africa’s dystopian future could easily be imagined through its dystopian past’—Masande Ntshanga chats to Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu about his new novel, Triangulum

Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu, author of The Theory of Flight, sat down with Masande Ntshanga to discuss his new novel, Triangulum….


[The JRB Daily] Commemorate Human Rights Day with an exclusive excerpt from Lie on Your Wounds: The Prison Correspondence of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe

Header image: Book cover (left); and Sobukwe, inside the grounds of Orlando Police Station, awaiting arrest, on the morning of 21…


‘There is no comfort to be had in fiction. Our history is too raw for that’—Jacob Dlamini reviews Barry Gilder’s ‘brilliant, haunting’ novel The List

The List, the debut novel by former anti-apartheid activist and uMkhonto weSizwe member Barry Gilder, is a meditation about betrayal, faith,…

Biography & Memoir

‘It was the only way we could escape our whiteness’—Read ‘Struggle Heroes’, an excerpt from Hugh Lewin’s memoir, Stones Against the Mirror

The JRB presents an excerpt from Stones Against the Mirror, the memoir of journalist, author and anti-apartheid activist Hugh Lewin,…

Book excerpts

‘Afrofuturism is not for Africans living in Africa’—an essay by Mohale Mashigo, excerpted from her new collection of short stories, Intruders

The JRB presents ‘Afrofuturism: Ayashis’ Amateki’, an essay by Mohale Mashigo, which serves as the preface to her new collection…


‘I want the reader to be an active participant, to work things out for themselves’—Craig Higginson chats about his new novel, The White Room

Craig Higginson’s sixth novel, The White Room, was published by Picador Africa in August. He chatted to The JRB Editor Jennifer Malec about…


The Durban Riots and an ‘ambitious re-examination’ of the relationship between Africans and Indians–Alex Lichtenstein reviews Jon Soske’s Internal Frontiers

By recentering the narrative on Durban and Natal, rather than Johannesburg and the Transvaal, Jon Soske modifies the established account…