The year 2018 has been a great year for literature, especially those written by black women. From amazing biographies of inspirational woman to motivational books and short story collections, SHAAZIA EBRAHIM and FATIMA MOOSA round up some of their favourite reads.
Resurrecting Winnie Mandela by Sisonke Msimang
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is one of the most important figures in South Africa’s history. As remarkable as her contributions to the liberation struggle are, her legacy is also contested. Sisonke Msimang writes a beautiful book that explores Mam’ Winnies life and the decisions she took in it.
What A Time To Be Alone by Chidera Eggerue
If you like motivational books, this is one for you. British-Nigerian blogger Chidera Eggerue’s What A Time To Be Alone is a wonderful guide to self love and acceptance. Coupled with Igbo proverbs and gorgeous design and illustration, reading this book is like a gift to yourself.
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
Esi Edugyan writes the award-winning story of Wash: a gifted young boy born into slavery on a Barbados plantation, who forms an unlikely bond with his master’s brother and the adventures that ensue. Washington Black is a book about freedom and identity. It explores what it means to be human, who is afforded humanity, and for what purpose which remains a relevant theme today.
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
Home Fire is a gripping tale of of a British family’s entanglement with Isis. But instead of simply tackling fundamentalism and terrorism, Kamila Shamsie writes about the state’s response to the perceived ‘enemy within’. The result is a thrilling – and tragic – read that humanises politics.
These Bones Will Rise Again by Panashe Chigumadzi
Panashe Chigumadzi writes a beautifully thought-provoking reflection on the coup that ousted Robert Mugabe. What’s interesting is how this ousting is explained through the spirit medium and anti-colonial heroine Nehanda Charwe Nyakasikana and her late grandmother Lilian Chigumadzi. It’s a fantastic look at Zimbabwean politics.
Rekgotsofetse Chikane Breaking the Rainbow, Building the Nation
Fees Must Fall marked one of the most pivotal youth movements of the post-1994 South Africa. The movement made a deep impact on the country, yet the amount of writing about has it has been limited. Fallist Rekgotsofetse Chikane attempts to begin the archival recording of the movement. If you are interested in a perspective of Fees Must Fall from the insider, this book raises all of the important questions about what the movement meant beyond the protests.
Rosie Motene Reclaiming the Soil
Identity, race and history are issues that intersect in very interesting ways in South Africa. In Rosie Motene’s biography she re-tells her experience of growing up as a black girl in Apartheid South Africa living with the white family who employed her parents. Traumatic, beautiful and insightful – the book is a must read.
Mohale Mashigo Intruders
One of South Africa’s best writers, Mohale Mashigo has been doing all of the things in 2018. Writing for Kwezi, South Africa’s own superhero and releasing her very own collection of short stories. Intruders is a fantastic mixture of the supernatural meeting the real life while discussing the overt and underlying social issues facing South Africa. It’s a short read that will stay with you for a long while.
Kimono de Greef and Shuhood Abader Poacher
If you’re looking for a non-fiction book that reads like a thriller novel, Poacher is the one. Combining the storytelling skills of an actual abalone poacher with the in-depth research of a journalist, Poacher delves in the deep and dangerous world of abalone poaching and what it says about socio economic condition in South Africa.
Lesley Nneka Arimah What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky
Another stunning short story collection to add to your reading list, Lesley Nneka Arimah’s collection is not only fantastic but has also won so many awards. In much the same way like Mohale Mashigo’s Intruder, Arimah combines fantasy with real-life while making some very pertinent points about deep issues in society.