Christopher Mlalazi’s Many Rivers, published by Lion Press Ltd in 2009, is a chilling account of a border jumper’s ordeal when he leaves his native Zimbabwe for South Africa in the late 1990s. Qinisela who is from Bulawayo, in southern Zimbabwe, is escaping a low-paid factory job and an economic crisis which is just beginning to bite. Like other like-minded, he has his sights on Egoli – the place of gold – as Johannesburg is famed.
Loyce is a beautiful and intelligent young woman from an upper class Nigerian family living in Houston. The Amaechi family has been following certain religious norms and traditions for generations. Loyce and her siblings have been brought up well; and are expected to follow these traditions. She knows she has to complete college before she can think of dating or even marriage. When Loyce turns 16, peer pressure comes in and in most cases she clashes with her parents in a bid to make her friends happy.
Chengwe is a young man who has been serving in the police force in his country. Corruption and oppression of the masses has become the order of the day; government officials use the police to harass the people.
As a police officer, Chengwe has been forced to commit many offenses which he is not proud of. But when he is given a dangerous ultimatum to either kill or be killed, he knows he has to flee, if only to save his life. With only a rucksack, he sets off in the South to take refuge in the neighboring country.
In Unanswered Cries, award-winning Sierra Leonian writer, Osman Conteh tackles the subject of female circumcision. Set in Sierra Leone, the book centers around Olabisi, a 14-year old girl, who faces circumcision. While her father is Creole and opposes the practice, her mother, who is from the Temne tribe, is all for it. The parents are not married to each other and live apart.
Set mainly in the UK, this romantic story makes for a refreshing read – certainly a departure from other African stories that mostly center on the continent’s instabilities. Lola is a young, outspoken, confident and energetic woman. With her four friends – Funmi, Temmy, Titi, and Maureen – they make up a close circle of friends albeit with very different personalities. They are all educated young women, with good jobs but all struggling with their love relationships.
Published by Heinemann in 1979 and set in colonial Nigeria, Buchi Emecheta’s Joys of Motherhood is a satirical look at the supposed thrills of motherhood. Her focus is an Ibo woman, Nnu Ego who through endless pregnancies, toil and degradation and a Nigeria in transition, struggles with a motherhood role defined for her by tradition, patriarchy and superstition.
Senegalese author, Sembene Ousmane ‘s two novellas, The Money Order with White Genesis (published by Heinemann in 1972), highlight how societies in modern Africa struggle with moral issues and unusual situations. Dieng experiences bureaucratic incompetence and deceit in “The Money Order” which leads him to a public act of despair, while in “White Genesis”, the decline of a way of life is examined through a tragic tale of incest.
First published in 2005, by Oshun books, the book is Doreen Baingana’s debut short story collection. There are eight linked short stories about three sisters; Rosa, Patti and Christine. Set mostly in Entebbe, with short glimpses into the cities of Kampala and Los Angeles, the story focuses on these three sisters and their growth from childhood, through adolescence to adulthood.