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September 2019
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When Zimbawe’s NoViolet Bulawayo, who was recently shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing, for her short story, Hitting Budapest, the unanimous consensus was that a new literary star was born. Her debut novel, We Need New Names, is a poignant and thought-provoking narrative about her homeland., which […]


A collection of verses and chants for children, Atukwei Okai has put together poetry and illustrations which reminds you of childhood stories as told by grandparents, uncles, aunties and older family members. If his aim was to take parents back in time and remind children about what it means to be a child being raised […]


Hisham Matar wastes no time in laying the foundation for a profoundly moving story about the loss of a loved one and the psychological impact it has on those they leave behind. “My father disappeared at the beginning of my school Christmas holiday, when I was fourteen”, says Nuri. Matar’s protagonist does not know if his father, who […]


The ills suffered by women during war and conflict is now a discourse that international bodies like the UN, UN Women and various women campaign groups around the globe take seriously. From the Liberia to Sierra Leone to DR Congo, some of Africa’s most recent wars, women have found themselves sandwiched between multiple warring factions […]


It is not hard to understand why President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf stressed the need for reconciliation and reconstruction, and placed emphasis on national unity as a priority during her second tenure, when she was sworn into office for a second term earlier this year; without first understanding the complex historical context and deep divisions which […]


In the second of my book review series, Who has The Right To Write About Africa, I am reviewing books by Binyavanga Wainaina (Kenya), Helon Habila (Nigeria) and Nii Ayikwei Parkes (Ghana). Enjoy!   One Day I Will Write About This Place by Binyavanga Wainaina Binyavanga Wainaina takes you home to Kenyan in his memoir, as he […]


Who has the right to write about Africa and tell the continent’s story for its multifaceted nature, from languages to cultures to religious beliefs? In his essay, ‘Colonial Fictions: Memory and History in Yvonne Vera’s Imagination.’ Paul Zeleza wrote: “Nowhere is the multidimensional, multifocality and multivocality of twentieth-century African literature more evident than in the postcolonial […]


In recent times, Rwanda has made headlines for the wrong reasons, from an alleged attempt on the lives of exiled Rwandese in London, to a protest, led by Paul Rusesabagina, whose story inspired the film Hotel Rwanda, against President Paul Kagame in Chicago. And most recently, reports of another foiled plot to kill former Rwandan […]


Contrary to the title, E.C. Osondu is not serving as the Voice of America and certainly not the spokesman for Nigeria, with his eclectic collection of short stories, chronicling the lives of Africans at home and in the diaspora.  From his Caine Prize winning story; Waiting to A Letter from Home and Janjaweed Wife, we delve into […]


The Caine Prize for African writing has done a tremendous job, bringing writers from the continent, known and unknown to the attention of the international literary landscape. Just over a decade old, it has produced winners like Leila Aboulela (Lyrics Alley) Helen Habila (Waiting for An Angel, Measureing Time and Oil on Water), E.C. Osondu […]


“There’s only one secret to being a successful hairdresser and I have never withheld it from anyone: ‘Your client should leave the salon feeling like a white woman.’ Not Coloured, not Indian, not Chinese.”  – Sisi Vimbia. Welcome to Khumalo Hair and Beauty Treatment Salon, where Vimbia reigns supreme as the best hairdresser in Harare. […]


Black women’s hair is a subject that arouses strong emotions and controversy. In Hair Power Skin Revolution, a collection of personal essays and stories, and poems by black and mixed-race women, Nicole Moore ignites a new dialogue on the subject, poignant and powerful, she chronicles why black women need to develop an eternal love affair […]


My first time at the London Book Fair and I could not help it, brought the camera out of my bag and started snapping. I was like a little girl discovering snow for the first time. I can’t explain the joy of seeing so many books on diverse subjects under one roof. I felt like […]


It is not everyday you get a writer whose heritage spans three continents but that is what you have with Shailja Patel, a Kenyan-Indian-American. Her words are dark, deep and hypnotic on all levels of human sensibility and reasoning. Patel’s words are so potent, they transpose you intellectually, mentally and emotionally to a different place […]


Part prose, part poetry, A Fine Madness is a befitting title to this evocative offering about war from Mashingaidze Gomo. A forward written by Ngugi wa Thiongo, sets the scene for what’s to come; a narrative that tells the story of war in the Congo through the verbatim account by a soldier who lived through […]


Land ownership in Zimbabwe has long been a point of contention between the Zimbabwean and UK governments. This is the point of focus in Nyaradzo Mtizira, historically inspired, factual novel, The Chimurenga Protocol. Mtizira sets out to make a case for the present day land redistribution by outlining the injustice to indigenous Zimbabweans, whose ancestors […]


To understand South Africa’s political repositioning in recent history, its racial tensions, social and economic divides and its ever evolving nature, you have to understand the country’s past. This is the mammoth task Dominic Lapierre has taken on with his epic historical account of the rainbow nation. Divided into four sections, ‘In Search of a […]


I wrote about my eventful journey to EC Osondu’s reading at the Southbank, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, I must add the journey to and fro was worth it. EC Osondu is as interesting in person as the stories on the pages of his book, full of warmth and humour. It was an evening which […]