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Camugu, recently returned to Johannesburg and disillusioned by the new democracy, moves to the remote Eastern Cape. There in the nineteenth century a teenage prophetess commanded the Xhosa people to kill their cattle and burn their crops, promising that the spirits of their ancestors would rise and drive the English into the ocean. The failed prophecy split the people in two, with devastating consequences. One hundred and fifty years later, the two groups’ decendants are at odds over plans to build a vast casino and tourist resort, and Camugu is soon drawn into their heritage and their future—and into a bizarre love triangle as well.
In her fiction debut, Doreen Baingana follows a Ugandan girl as she navigates the uncertain terrain of adolescence. Set mostly in pastoral Entebbe with stops in the cities Kampala and Los Angeles, "Tropical Fish" depicts the reality of life for Christine Mugisha and her family after Idi Amin's dictatorship. Three of the eight chapters are told from the point of view of Christine's two older sisters, Patti, a born-again Christian who finds herself starving at her boarding school, and Rosa, a free spirit who tries to "magically" seduce one of her teachers. But the star of "Tropical Fish "is Christine, whom we accompany from her first wobbly steps in high heels, to her encounters with the first-world conveniences and alienation of America, to her return home to Uganda. As the Mugishas cope with Uganda's collapsing infrastructure, they also contend with the universal themes of family cohesion, sex and relationships, disease, betrayal, and spirituality. Anyone dipping into Baingana's incandescent, widely acclaimed novel will enjoy their immersion in the world of this talented newcomer.
In the decade since it won the Booker Prize, Ben Okri's Famished Road has become a classic. Like Salman Rushdie's "Midnight's Children or Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, it combines brilliant narrative technique with a fresh vision to create an essential work of world literature. The narrator, Azaro, is an "abiku, a spirit child, who in the Yoruba tradition of Nigeria exists between life and death. The life he foresees for himself and the tale he tells is full of sadness and tragedy, but inexplicably he is born with a smile on his face. Nearly called back to the land of the dead, he is resurrected. But in their efforts to save their child, Azaro's loving parents are made destitute. The tension between the land of the living, with its violence and political struggles, and the temptations of the carefree kingdom of the spirits propels this latter-day Lazarus's story.
This radical collection of short stories is a double award-winning book aimed at debunking the myth about African women as impoverished victims. The stories deal with challenging themes representing some of the more complex love stories ever published from Afirca, ranging from labour pains to burials, teenagers to octogenarians, race fraught and same-sex relationships, the human heart is out there, bold, bleeding and occasionally triumphant. Crafted by a stellar cast of authors including El Saadawi, Adichie, Atta, Baingana, Oyeyemi, Manyinka, Aboulela, wa Goro, Badoe, Magona, Tadjo, Krog, Ogundipe, de Nyeko et al. A much welcomed addition to African literature.
This is one of the best-known plays by Africa's major dramatist, Wole Soyinka. It is set in the Yoruba vilage of Ilunjinle. The main characters are Sidi (the jewel), 'a true village belle' and Baroka (the Lion), the crafty and powerful Bale of the village, Lakunle, the young teacher, influenced by western ways, and Sadiku, the eldest of Baroka's wives. How the Lion hunts the Jewel is the theme of this ribald comedy.
As startling and powerful as when first published more than two decades ago, André Brink's classic novel, A Dry White Season, is an unflinching and unforgettable look at racial intolerance, the human condition, and the heavy price of morality. Ben Du Toit is a white schoolteacher in suburban Johannesburg in a dark time of intolerance and state-sanctioned apartheid. A simple, apolitical man, he believes in the essential fairness of the South African government and its policies—until the sudden arrest and subsequent "suicide" of a black janitor from Du Toit's school. Haunted by new questions and desperate to believe that the man's death was a tragic accident, Du Toit undertakes an investigation into the terrible affair—a quest for the truth that will have devastating consequences for the teacher and his family, as it draws him into a lethal morass of lies, corruption, and murder.
A young man's quest to reconcile his deafness in an unforgiving world leads to a remarkable sojourn in a remote African village that pulsates with beauty and violence These are hearing aids. They take the sounds of the world and amplify them." Josh Swiller recited this speech to himself on the day he arrived in Mununga, a dusty village on the shores of Lake Mweru. Deaf since a young age, Swiller spent his formative years in frustrated limbo on the sidelines of the hearing world, encouraged by his family to use lipreading and the strident approximations of hearing aids to blend in. It didn't work. So he decided to ditch the well-trodden path after college, setting out to find a place so far removed that his deafness would become irrelevant. That place turned out to be Zambia, where Swiller worked as a Peace Corps volunteer for two years. There he would encounter a world where violence, disease, and poverty were the mundane facts of life. But despite the culture shock, Swiller finally commanded attention--everyone always listened carefully to the white man, even if they didn't always follow his instruction. Spending his days working in the health clinic with Augustine Jere, a chubby, world-weary chess aficionado and a steadfast friend, Swiller had finally found, he believed, a place where his deafness didn't interfere, a place he could call home. Until, that is, a nightmarish incident blasted away his newfound convictions. At once a poignant account of friendship through adversity, a hilarious comedy of errors, and a gripping narrative of escalating violence, The Unheard is an unforgettable story from a noteworthy new talent.
It is never clear to Elizabeth whether the mission school principal's cruel revelation of her origins is at the bottom of her mental breakdown. She has left South Africa with her son and is living in the village of Motabeng, the place of sand, in Botswana where there are no street lights at night.
A groundbreaking and wide-angled memoir by the acclaimed Kenyan Caine Prize winner Binyavanga Wainaina.
Binyavanga Wainaina tumbled through his middle-class Kenyan childhood out of kilter with the world around him. This world came to him as a chaos of loud and colorful sounds: the hair dryers at his mother’s beauty parlor, black mamba bicycle bells, mechanics in Nairobi, the music of Michael Jackson—all punctuated by the infectious laughter of his brother and sister, Jimmy and Ciru. He could fall in with their patterns, but it would take him a while to carve out his own. In this vivid and compelling debut memoir, Wainaina takes us through his school days, his mother’s religious period, his failed attempt to study in South Africa as a computer programmer, a moving family reunion in Uganda, and his travels around Kenya. The landscape in front of him always claims his main attention, but he also evokes the shifting political scene that unsettles his views on family, tribe, and nationhood. Throughout, reading is his refuge and his solace. And when, in 2002, a writing prize comes through, the door is opened for him to pursue the career that perhaps had been beckoning all along. A series of fascinating international reporting assignments follow. Finally he circles back to a Kenya in the throes of postelection violence and finds he is not the only one questioning the old certainties. Resolutely avoiding stereotype and cliché, Wainaina paints every scene in One Day I Will Write About This Place with a highly distinctive and hugely memorable brush.
Following the success of the acclaimed "Ghost Train to the Eastern Star" and "The Great Railway Bazaar," "The Last Train to Zona Verde" is an ode to the last African journey of the world's most celebrated travel writer. "Happy again, back in the kingdom of light," writes Paul Theroux as he sets out on a new journey through the continent he knows and loves best. Theroux first came to Africa as a twenty-two-year-old Peace Corps volunteer, and the pull of the vast land never left him. Now he returns, after fifty years on the road, to explore the little-traveled territory of western Africa and to take stock both of the place and of himself. His odyssey takes him northward from Cape Town, through South Africa and Namibia, then on into Angola, wishing to head farther still until he reaches the end of the line. Journeying alone through the greenest continent, Theroux encounters a world increasingly removed from both the itineraries of tourists and the hopes of postcolonial independence movements. Leaving the Cape Town townships, traversing the Namibian bush, passing the browsing cattle of the great sunbaked heartland of the savanna, Theroux crosses "the Red Line" into a different Africa: "the improvised, slapped-together Africa of tumbled fences and cooking fires, of mud and thatch," of heat and poverty, and of roadblocks, mobs, and anarchy. After 2,500 arduous miles, he comes to the end of his journey in more ways than one, a decision he chronicles with typically unsparing honesty in a chapter called "What Am I Doing Here?" Vivid, witty, and beautifully evocative, "The Last Train to Zona Verde" is a fitting final African adventure from the writer whose gimlet eye and effortless prose have brought the world to generations of readers.
After the brutal, random murder of his cousin, Kevin Bloom was left with shock, grief, and anger--and one burning question: "Why stay in South Africa?" As a journalist, Kevin Bloom had witnessed and reported on the rising tide of violence in post-Apartheid South Africa. But when his own cousin was killed in a vicious random attack, the questions he'd been asking about the troubling political and social changes in his country took on a sickeningly personal urgency. Suddenly, it felt as though this South Africa was no longer the place he'd grown up in or the place which felt like home. Still stunned by the loss, Bloom begins to trace the path of violence from the murder of his cousin in the hills of Zululand to the fatal shooting of the historian David Rattray, linking these individual crimes to the riven political landscape, and the riots and xenophobic attacks of 2008. Visceral, complicated, and compassionate, "Ways of Staying" is an eloquent account of how the white community is coping with black majority rule, and in particular how one family is coping in the aftermath of their own private tragedy.
Its title recalls Bret Easton Ellis’s infamous book, but while Ellis’s narrator was a blank slate, African Psycho’s protagonist is a quivering mass of lies, neuroses, and relentless internal chatter. Gregoire Nakobomayo, a petty criminal, has decided to kill his girlfriend Germaine. He’s planned the crime for some time, but still, the act of murder requires a bit of psychological and logistical preparation. Luckily, he has a mentor to call on, the far more accomplished serial killer Angoualima. The fact that Angoualima is dead doesn’t prevent Gregoire from holding lengthy conversations with him. Little by little, Gregoire interweaves Angoualima’s life and criminal exploits with his own. Continuing with the plan despite a string of botched attempts, Gregoire’s final shot at offing Germaine leads to an abrupt unraveling. Lauded in France for its fresh and witty style, African Psycho’s inventive use of language surprises and relieves the reader by injecting humor into this disturbing subject.
The golden baobab tree is where village elders go to discuss traditional matters with their leader, Chief Foretia Nkengasong. It is also where children go to listen to stories. On this day, the children of Letia gather under the tree to listen to the famous storyteller, Uncle Jimi Solanke, who has come to the village at the invitation of the chief.
The nine stories in this collection are taken from the rich tradition of African legend, and feature themes ranging from creation to the afterlife, from the natural world to magic and the supernatural, and from gods and heroes to monster and ogers. Fast-paced, yet clearly and lyrically told, these myths offer the reader a fascinating glimpse into African cultures both past and present, from the Yoruba peoples of Nigeria the Mbundu peoples of Angola to the Shona clans of Zimbabwe. (Ages 8-12)
This Norton Critical Edition of Death and the King's Horseman is the only student edition available in the United States. Based on events that took place in 1946 in the ancient Yoruban city of Oyo, Soyinka's acclaimed and powerful play addresses classic issues of cultural conflict, tragic decision-making, and the psychological mindsets of individuals and groups. The text of the play is accompanied by an introduction and explanatory annotations for the many allusions to traditional Nigerian myth and culture.
ALLAH IS NOT OBLIGED TO BE FAIR ABOUT ALL THE THINGS HE DOES HERE ON EARTH.These are the words of the boy soldier Birahima in the final masterpiece by one of Africa's most celebrated writers, Ahmadou Kourouma. When ten-year-old Birahima's mother dies, he leaves his native village in the Ivory Coast, accompanied by the sorcerer and cook Yacouba, to search for his aunt Mahan. Crossing the border into Liberia, they are seized by rebels and forced into military service. Birahima is given a Kalashnikov, minimal rations of food, a small supply of dope and a tiny wage. Fighting in a chaotic civil war alongside many other boys, Birahima sees death, torture, dismemberment and madness but somehow manages to retain his own sanity. Raw and unforgettable, despairing yet filled with laughter, "Allah Is Not Obliged" reveals the ways in which children's innocence and youth are compromised by war.
'Happy Valley' was the name given to the region of Kenya's Central Highlands where a community of affluent, hedonistic white expatriates settled between the wars. Including the writer Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), the pioneering aviator Beryl Markham and the troubled socialite Idina Sackville whose life was told in Frances Osborne's bestselling The Bolter, the Happy Valley set's notoriety was sealed in 1931 with the sensational - and still unsolved - murder of the Earl of Errol, the investigation of which laid bare the extent of the set's decadence and irresponsibility, and made for another bestselling book in James Fox's White Mischief. But what is left now? Juliet Barnes, who has lived in Kenya for many years, has set out to explore Happy Valley in a remarkable and indefatigable archaeological quest to find the homes and haunts of this extraordinary and vanished set of people - grand residences like Clouds up in the hills that once hosted opulent and scandalous parties. With the help of African guides, and guided by the memories of elderly expats she tracks down to the Muthiaga old enough to have first-hand memories of the likes of Idina and Lord Errol and the lives they led, what she finds - ruins reclaimed by luxuriant bush, tumbledown dwellings in which an African family ekes a subsistence living, or even a modest school - is a revelation of the state of modern Africa that makes the gilded era of the Happy Valley set seem even more fantastic. A book to set alongside such singular evocations of Africa and its strange colonial history as The Africa House, "The Ghosts of Happy Valley: The Biography" is a mesmerising blend of travel narrative, social history and personal quest.
Deadly Harvest in Michael Stanley’s beloved Detective Kubu series tracks a series of murders and a mysterious witch doctor whose nefarious potions might hold the key to a web of missing persons. When young girls start to go missing, Samantha, a new detective on the Botswana police force suspects that muti, a traditional African medicine, is the reason. She and Detective David “Kubu” Bengu race to stop a serial killer, all as the father of one of the victims threatens to take matters into his own hands. Weaving together a thrilling mystery with a fascinating look at modern-day Africa, Deadly Harvest is filled with elements suspense and plot twists that will keep you captivated until the very end.