Lomba is a young journalist living under military rule in Lagos, Nigeria, the most dangerous city in the world. His mind is full of soul music and girls and the lyric novel he is writing. But his roommate is brutally attacked by soldiers; his first love is forced to marry a wealthy old man; and his neighbors on Poverty Street are planning a demonstration that is bound to incite riot and arrests. Lomba can no longer bury his head in the sand.Helon Habila's vivid, exciting, and heart-wrenching debut opens a window onto a world in some ways familiar-with its sensuously depicted streets, student life, and vibrant local characters-yet ruled by one of the world's most corrupt and oppressive regimes, a scandal that ultimately drives Lomba to take a risk in the name of something greater than himself. Habila captures the energy, sensitivity, despair, and stubborn hope of a new African generation with a combination of gritty realism and poetic beauty. Winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing 2001.
Shortlisted for the CNA and Noma Awards In "Ways of Dying," Zakes Mda's acclaimed first novel, Toloki is a "professional mourner" in a vast and violent city of the new South Africa. Day after day he attends funerals in the townships, dressed with dignity in a threadbare suit, cape, and battered top hat, to comfort the grieving families of the victims of the city's crime, racial hatred, and crippling poverty. At a Christmas day funeral for a young boy Toloki is reunited with Noria, a woman from his village. Together they help each other to heal the past, and as their story interweaves with those of their acquaintances this elegant short novel provides a magical and painful picture of South Africa today. "Ways of Dying "was awarded South Africa's prestigious M-Net Book Prize, awarded by the TV channel M-Net to books written in one of South Africa's official languages, and was shortlisted for the Central News Agency (CNA) Award and the Noma Award, an Africa-wide prize founded by Shoichi Noma, onetime president of Kodansha International.
Praised as one of the most accomplished of a new generation of African novelistsżand perhaps the most important Ghanaian writer since Ayi Kwei ArmahżBenjamin Kwakye establishes a powerful connection with the reader in his story of a young African manżs immigrant experience.The protagonist in The Other Crucifix immerses himself in American college life, a new life that alienates him in more ways than one from his native Africa. As the years pass, memories of Ghana fade until his uncleżs death in a coup dżetat triggers a crucial reawakening.
From the prizewinning author of Mr. Fox, the Snow White fairy tale brilliantly recast as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity. In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty-the opposite of the life she's left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman. A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she'd become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy's daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing for white. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold. Dazzlingly inventive and powerfully moving, Boy, Snow, Bird is an astonishing and enchanting novel. With breathtaking feats of imagination, Helen Oyeyemi confirms her place as one of the most original and dynamic literary voices of our time.
King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village (by Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman)
The charming real-life fairy tale of an American secretary who discovers she has been chosen king of an impoverished fishing village on the west coast of Africa. "King Peggy" chronicles the astonishing journey of American secretary, Peggielene Bartels, who suddenly finds herself king to a town of 7,000 people on Ghana's central coast, half a world away. Upon arriving for her crowning ceremony in beautiful Otuam, she discovers the dire reality: there's no running water, no doctor, no high school, and many of the village elders are stealing the town's funds. To make matters worse, her uncle (the late king) sits in a morgue awaiting a proper funeral in the royal palace, which is in ruins. Peggy's first two years as king of Otuam unfold in a way that is stranger than fiction. In the end, a deeply traditional African town is uplifted by the ambitions of its decidedly modern female king, and Peggy is herself transformed, from an ordinary secretary to the heart and hope of her community.
In this stunning debut novel, Agu, a young boy in an unnamed West African nation, is recruited into a unit of guerrilla fighters as civil war engulfs his country. Haunted by his father's own death at the hands of militants, Agu is vulnerable to the dangerous yet paternal nature of his new commander. While the war rages on, Agu becomes increasingly divorced from the life he had known before the conflict started—a life of school friends, church services, and time with his family still intact. In a powerful, strikingly original voice that vividly captures Agu's youth and confusion, Uzodinma Iweala has produced a harrowing, inventive, and deeply affecting novel.
Straight out of South Africa comes the poignant tale of Ida Morgan: her husband murdered, abandoned by God, and alone in the world. Ida's road to healing and wholeness is paved by diamonds in the dust. Author Shirley Mowat Tucker is a native South African who, through the eyes of Ida Morgan, leads the reader into her country's secret places... places where there are still wicked men doing wicked things... places where the innocent and defenseless are preyed upon... places drenched in the same bitterness and grief that Ida Morgan now understands first hand.
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.
In recent years, technological advances, higher commodity prices and a global thirst for energy have meant that African oil and gas are increasingly in demand. Countries as far apart as Niger, Uganda, Chad, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania are looking at the prospect of almost unimaginable flows of money into their national budgets. But the story of African oil has usually been associated with disaster - older producers such as Nigeria, Angola and Cameroon have little to show for the many billions of dollars they've earned, and oil money has been shown to fuel conflict and corruption, creating a so-called 'resource curse'. In this revealing and insightful book, former BBC correspondent Celeste Hicks questions the inevitability of such an outcome, revealing what the discovery of oil means for the ordinary Africans through original testimony from those working in the oil industries and the communities that surround them. A much-needed account of an issue that will likely transform the fortunes of a number of African countries - for better or for worse.
Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales is a cause for celebration, landmark work that gathers in one volume many of Africa's most cherished folktales. Mandela, a Nobel Laureate for Peace, has selected these thirty-two tales with the specific hope that Africa's oldest stories, as well as a few new ones, be perpetuated by future generations and be appreciated by children throughout the world. In these "beloved stories, morsels rich with the gritty essence of Africa," we meet, among many others, a Kenyan lion named Simba, a snake with seven heads and a trickster from Zulu folklore; we hear the voices of the scheming hyena and learn from a Khoi fable how animals acquired their tails and horns. Several creation myths tell us how the land, its animals, and its people all came into existence under a punishing sun or against the backdrop of a spectacularly beautiful mountain landscape. Whether warning children about the dangers of disobedience or demonstrating that the underdog can--and often does--win, these stories, through their depiction of wise animals as well as evil monsters, are "universal in their portrayal of humanity, beasts, and the mystical." What is particularly exciting about this book is that many of the stories, in their oral form, are almost as old as Africa itself. Most of them were, in fact, first told in various African tongues around evening fires in centuries past--tales from, for example, the San and the Khoi, the original hunter-gatherers and livestock herders of Southern Africa. Translated into English and other European languages chiefly in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries from their original languages--be they Karanga, Nguni, Xhosa, or one of many others--these folktales are a testament to the craft of storytelling and the power of myth. Accompanied by dozens of enchanting, specially commissioned color paintings, Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales--culled from African countries as far-flung as Morocco, Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya--presents a fountain of precious knowledge that will be treasured by children, as well as adults, for years to come. (Ages 8-11)
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.
Just before 3am on January 24th, 1941, when Britain was preoccupied with surviving the Blitz, the body of Josslyn Hay, Earl of Erroll, was discovered lying on the floor of his Buick, at a road intersection some miles outside Nairobi, with a bullet in his head. A leading figure in Kenya's colonial community he had recently been appointed Military Secretary, but he was primarily a seducer of other men's wives. Sir Henry Delves Broughton, whose wife was Erroll's current conquest, had an obvious motive for the murder, but no one was ever convicted and the question of who killed him became a classic mystery, a scandel and cause celebre. Among those who became fascinated with the Erroll case was Cyril connolly. He joined up with James fox for a major investigation of the case in 1969 for the SUNDAY TIMES magazine. After his death James Fox inherited the obsession and a commitment to continue in pursuit of the story both in England and Kenya in the late 1970s. One day, on a veranda overlooking the Indian Ocean, Fox came across a piece of evidence that seemed to bring all the fragments and pieces together and convinced him that he saw a complete picture.
Despite billions of dollars of aid and the best efforts of the international community to improve economies and bolster democracy across Africa, violent dictatorships persist. As a result, millions have died, economies are in shambles, and whole states are on the brink of collapse. Political observers and policymakers are starting to believe that economic aid is not the key to saving Africa. So what does the continent need to do to throw off the shackles of militant rule? African policy expert George Ayittey argues that before Africa can prosper, she must be free. Taking a hard look at the fight against dictatorships around the world, from Ukraine's orange revolution in 2004 to Iran's Green Revolution last year, he examines what strategies worked in the struggle to establish democracy through revolution. Ayittey also offers strategies for the West to help Africa in her quest for freedom, including smarter sanctions and establishing fellowships for African students.
The story of a young Jamaican girl, Gwendolen Brillianton, who is born into poverty and deserted by her parents when they emigrate to London. Being reunited with her parents and the siblings she has never met does not end her problems, and she realizes she must must fight her family and take control of her own life in order to recover from abuse and take pride in her self. Originally published as Gwendolen.
A frighteningly persuasive, high-tech fable, this novel follows the lives of four narrators living in an alternative futuristic Cape Town, South Africa. An art-school dropout, and AIDS baby, a tech-activist and an RPG-obsessed blogger live in a world where your online identity is at least as important as your physical one. Getting disconnected is a punishment worse than imprisonment, but someone's got to stand up to Government Inc. - whatever the cost. Taking hedonistic trends in society to their ultimate conclusions, this tale paints anything but a forecasted utopia, satirically undermining the reified idea of progress as society's white knight.
A compelling portrait of relations between the rich and poor in urban Ghana
The new novel from the winner of the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, The Hired Man is a taut, powerful novel of a small town and its dark wartime secrets, unwittingly brought into the light by a family of outsiders. (Release Date: October 1, 2013) - Available for Pre-Order. Aminatta Forna has established herself as one of our most perceptive and uncompromising chroniclers of war and the way it reverberates, sometimes imperceptibly, in the daily lives of those touched by it. With The Hired Man, she has delivered a tale of a Croatian village after the War of Independence, and a family of newcomers who expose its secrets. Duro is off on a morning’s hunt when he sees something one rarely does in Gost: a strange car. Later that day, he overhears its occupants, a British woman, Laura, and her two children, who have taken up residence in a house Duro knows well. He offers his assistance getting their water working again, and soon he is at the house every day, helping get it ready as their summer cottage, and serving as Laura’s trusted confidant. But the other residents of Gost are not as pleased to have the interlopers, and as Duro and Laura’s daughter Grace uncover and begin to restore a mosaic in the front that has been plastered over, Duro must be increasingly creative to shield the family from the town’s hostility, and his own past with the house’s former occupants. As the inhabitants of Gost go about their days, working, striving to better themselves and their town, and arguing, the town’s volatile truths whisper ever louder. A masterpiece of storytelling haunted by lost love and a restrained menace, this novel recalls Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee and Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje. The Hired Man confirms Aminatta Forna as one of our most important writers.
After carrying a bowl of milk on her head across dunes and the River Niger, and even up a mountain, without spilling a drop despite many distractions, Penda gets a surprise when she arrives at the grasslands to give her father his lunch. (Ages 4 to 7).