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…

Biography & Memoir

‘There was a heated discussion about me going to work for this “native” paper’—Read an excerpt from Freedom Writer, the memoir of legendary journalist Juby Mayet

The JRB presents an excerpt from Freedom Writer: My Life and Times by the late Juby Mayet. Freedom Writer: My…

Biography & Memoir

‘He was determined to cement the Zulu language as a mighty force’—Read ‘The Last Word: Benedict Vilakazi’, excerpted from Wits University at 100

The JRB presents an excerpt from Wits University at 100: From Excavation to Innovation, a book that captures important moments…

Biography & Memoir

‘What did you say happened here again?’—Read an excerpt from A Man, A Fire, A Corpse, Rofhiwa Maneta’s memoir of his father, ‘The Top Cop of Soweto’

The JRB presents an excerpt from Rofhiwa Maneta’s new book A Man, A Fire, A Corpse, a biography of his…

Biography & Memoir

‘I saw myself in him, and by seeing myself in him, I felt less alone for the first time’—Read an excerpt from Welcome Mandla Lishivha’s new memoir Boy on the Run

The JRB presents an excerpt from Boy on the Run by Welcome Mandla Lishivha. Boy on the RunWelcome Mandla LishivhaJacana…

Academic

‘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…

Academic

‘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….

Biography & Memoir

A man at the forefront of the fight for Black liberation—Read an excerpt from Now You Know How Mapetla Died: The Story of a Black Consciousness Martyr by Zikhona Valela

The JRB presents an excerpt from Zikhona Valela’s new book, Now You Know How Mapetla Died: The Story of a…

Biography & Memoir

‘Startlingly good’—Wamuwi Mbao reviews Misfits: A Personal Manifesto by Michaela Coel, creator and star of the hit TV show I May Destroy You

Michaela Coel’s Misfits blends an effervescent sense of social realism with a beguiling clarity, writes Wamuwi Mbao. Misfits: A Personal…

Academic

‘It is dangerous to be gay in Uganda’—Read the personal experience of Angel, a 32-year-old asylum seeker, from Seeking Sanctuary: Stories of Sexuality, Faith and Migration

The JRB presents an excerpt from John Marnell’s new book Seeking Sanctuary: Stories of Sexuality, Faith and Migration. Seeking Sanctuary:…

Africa

‘You gave me permission to lean into the terrible, of both myself and the people I wrote into existence’—Read an excerpt from Akwaeke Emezi’s new book Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir

The JRB presents an excerpt from Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir by Akwaeke Emezi. Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit…

Biography & Memoir

‘Grief—a word that seemed too small to encompass the world I had been plunged into’—Read Sisonke Msimang’s essay from Our Ghosts Were Once People: Stories on Death and Dying

In a new anthology on death and dying, Sisonke Msimang writes about the multiple losses faced when her mother passed…

Academic

‘He was no longer working for the colonial state, and had fully taken on his revolutionary status’—Read an excerpt from Amílcar Cabral: The Life of a Reluctant Nationalist

The JRB presents an excerpt from António Tomás’s new book Amílcar Cabral: The Life of a Reluctant Nationalist. Amílcar Cabral:…

Biography & Memoir

‘The beginning of an adventure’—Read the late George Bizos’s account of his escape from Nazi-occupied Greece as a child, from his memoir Odyssey To Freedom

The JRB presents an excerpt from Odyssey To Freedom, the memoir of the late George Bizos. Bizos passed away in…

Biography & Memoir

‘The whole wide world could see what South Africa was truly like’—Read an excerpt from Heart of a Strong Woman: A Memoir by Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema, as told to Fred Khumalo

The JRB presents an excerpt from Heart of a Strong Woman: A Memoir by Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema, as told to Fred…

Biography & Memoir

[Sampler issue] ‘I was outed before I was ready, but there was nothing I could do’—Read an excerpt from Jamil F Khan’s new book Khamr: The Makings of a Waterslams

The JRB presents an excerpt from Khamr: The Makings of a Waterslams, the forthcoming book by Jamil F Khan. Khamr:…

Academic

[Sampler issue] ‘I would stare at this monstrous building trying to visualise my uncle falling to his death’—Read an excerpt from The Murder of Ahmed Timol by Imtiaz A Cajee

The JRB presents an excerpt from The Murder of Ahmed Timol: My Search for the Truth by Imtiaz A Cajee….

Academic

[The JRB Daily] 2020 Humanities and Social Sciences Awards winners announced, including Fiona Snyckers for Lacuna and Gabeba Baderoon for The History of Intimacy

The winners of the 2020 Humanities and Social Sciences Awards (HSS Awards) have been announced. The awards, now in their…

Biography & Memoir

Jia Tolentino is a moral voice for the secular world—Khanya Mtshali reviews Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, a collection of essays that explores how we survive our late-capitalist hellscape

In Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, Jia Tolentino presents her cosmopolitan obsessions with piercing insight and authority, writes Khanya Mtshali. Trick…

Africa

‘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,…

Africa

Bearing witness to unusual childhoods of privilege under oppression—Panashe Chigumadzi reviews Township Girls: The Cross-Over Generation

A significant first step in documenting the life writing of black Zimbabwean women—The JRB Contributing Editor Panashe Chigumadzi reviews Township Girls:…

Africa

[The JRB exclusive] ‘PS. Everybody calls me Binyavanga these days.’ Read Binyavanga Wainaina’s letter to his late mother, from the 2016 exhibition Inside: Artists and Writers in Reading Prison

In 2016, the late Binyavanga Wainaina contributed a piece of writing to a United Kingdom-based art project titled Inside: Artists and…

Academic

‘I didn’t seem to exist. It felt easier that way’—Es’kia Mphahlele. Read an excerpt from Like Family: Domestic Workers in South African History and Literature

The JRB presents an extract from Like Family: Domestic Workers in South African History and Literature, by Ena Jansen. Like…

Academic

‘A literary con’—Hedley Twidle rereads Familiarity is the Kingdom of the Lost by Dugmore Boetie, the joker in the pack of Sophiatown-era life writing

In this excerpt from his forthcoming book on non-fiction in South African literature, Experiments with Truth, Hedley Twidle revisits Dugmore…

Academic

[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…

Biography & Memoir

Illuminating a mighty poet and a total artist—Rustum Kozain reviews Dread Poetry and Freedom: Linton Kwesi Johnson and the Unfinished Revolution

The JRB Poetry Editor Rustum Kozain reviews David Austin’s new book Dread Poetry and Freedom: Linton Kwesi Johnson and the Unfinished Revolution, finding…