There has never been a better time to get into African literature. Let’s get into it!
This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga
This novel is about the obstacles facing women in Zimbabwe. The main character Tambudzai finds herself living in a run-down youth hostel in downtown Harare. She is forced to move to a widow’s boarding house and eventually finds work as a biology teacher. At every turn in her attempt to make a life for herself, she is faced with a fresh humiliation and tribulation until ultimately driven to a breaking point.
The Zulu Wedding by Dudu Busani-Dube
The book, which tells a story of Lou who’s been promised to the Zulu king in marriage to repay an old ancestral debt, is an Africa-meets-modern-day story. Lou has been running from this obligation since the death of her parents when she was 15. When she meets her soulmate, Tex, she realises she has to return to South Africa to confront her demons.Tex is an American and the only man Lou has ever loved. For them to get their happy ending, Lou tries to get out of the arrangement by confronting the king. The story has been adapted into a film.
Drunk by Jackson Biko
A story about love and alcoholism: “It starts with a girl. Girls actually. Its only fair that it starts with a girl, no? Only problem is that most stories that start with a girl always end up with someone banging on the door saying; I just want to talk. This is not one of those stories.
This one is about Larry.
He hates his father.
And he looks nothing like his step brother, who stays by his side throughout his madness. When Larry does something terrible, it looms over him, shaping his future, transforming all the relationships around him and hurtling him into a rabbit hole. Oh, and wheelbarrows are involved. Five of them. Somehow Larry and one of these wheelbarrows will collide and things will get pretty hairy – for Larry, that is, not for you, dear reader”
Houseboy by Ferdinand Oyono
Houseboy is a novel in the form of a diary first published in 1956 by in French as Une vie de boy and translated into English in 1966. The story follows Toundi Ondoua a black youth in colonial Cameroon. Toundi struggles with his identity, his place in society, and the changing culture.
The Broken River Tent by Nphuthumi Ntabeni
This is a novel that marries imagination with history. It is about the life and times of Maqoma, the Xhosa chief who was at the forefront of fighting British colonialism in the Eastern Cape during the nineteenth century. A couple of conversations about cultural history, literature, religion, the past and contemporary South African life are shared.