Book Reviews

Stanley Gazemba on mermaids and how to prevent us from turning into robots | An interview by Elke Seghers

I interviewed the Kenyan author Stanley Gazemba on the occasion of his 2002 novel The Stone Hills of Maragoli being republished in the U.S. under the title Forbidden Fruit (June 2017). In April 2017, we had a conversation about his work and the Kenyan literary landscape at the Go Down Arts Centre in Nairobi, where […]

Writing beyond borders: Kwani Trust as an ambitious African LINGO | An article by Ewout Decoorne

Hidden behind a leafy courtyard off Nairobi’s Riverside Drive, Kwani Trust houses one of Kenya’s (and perhaps Africa’s) most fascinating literary contributions of the last decades. The small, cosy shop can hardly reveal the magnitude of this movement, which since its inception in 2003 has adopted an increasingly influential voice within Africa’s intellectual and cultural […]

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Birth of a Dream Weaver. A Writer’s Awakening | A Review by Inge Brinkman

Colonialism and nationalism are big words. So big that they may become meaningless abstractions. Through telling about his personal experiences with these overarching concepts, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o shows what possible meanings they can acquire. In the trilogy of memoirs he wrote – Dreams in a Time of War, In the House of the Interpreter and […]

Finding the poetry in East Africa and beyond | An article by Ruth Finnegan

Is this a poem? I long for you, as one Whose dhow in summer winds Is blown adrift and lost, Longs for land, and finds – Again the compass tells – A grey and empty sea. Surely yes, this is a poem, says my heart. Yet it was not – as we literacy obsessed might […]

Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun | A Review by Elizabeth Olubukola Olaoye

Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun is better described as a memory, in spite of its status as a notable work of prose. The simple yet depth-imbuing prose of its narration notwithstanding, the text reverberates with recollections of people, places and pulses of events. Steven Rose’s statement that “(m)emories are our most […]

L’espace urbain dans le roman africain francophone | Une critique d’Ewout Decoorne

Dans un ouvrage riche et ambitieux, Joseph Ahimann Preira plonge dans l’univers de la ville dans les littératures africaines. Plus précisément, Preira nous offre une analyse profonde de la représentation de l’espace urbain à travers la tradition romanesque de l’Afrique francophone. Avec 19 écrivains et 22 romans, le corpus étudié est particulièrement extensif. Il comprend […]

“This is Johussleburg and everyone here is suffering from affluenza” | A Review of Niq Mhlongo’s Affluenza by Kirby Mania

Niq Mhlongo’s recent collection of eleven arresting stories, Affluenza, is his fourth offering published by Kwela Books. The celebrated author of Dog Eat Dog (2004), After Tears (2007), and Way Back Home (2013), Mhlongo is known for his gritty take on the various maladies plaguing post-apartheid society. This comes to the fore most prominently in […]

Mukuka Chipanta’s “A Casualty of Power” | A Review by Gilbert Braspenning

The Story A Casualty of Power is set in Chipanta’s home country Zambia, between 2005 and 2012, and portrays a country in moral decay: corruption, greed, torture and treason rule over society. And, as in many other postcolonial African novels, it is especially ordinary people who suffer from these conditions. Therefore, the novel may leave […]

Les littératures de la Corne de l’Afrique. Regards croisés – Paola Ranzini (dir.) | Une critique par Ewout Decoorne

La Corne de l’Afrique, une région aussi diverse que distincte, reste jusqu’à présent sous-représentée dans les ouvrages scientifiques consacrés aux littératures africaines. Une contribution visant à explorer les multiples expressions littéraires issues des quatre États actuels qui constituent la Corne (à savoir l’Éthiopie, la Somalie, l’Érythrée et la Djibouti) et de la diaspora en Europe […]

The Yearning –  Mohale Mashigo | A Review by Beverley Jane Cornelius

“The Yearning never stops till we embrace everything that brought us here. In our quiet denial, The Yearning devours us,” explains the narrator and protagonist at the beginning of Mohale Mashigo’s novel, The Yearning (2016). Marubini Khumalo tells the story of how she comes to learn about the secrets of her own past in order to […]