Book Reviews / Articles

Khama’s rebellion against history | A Review by Gitte Postel

In the driest region east of the Okavango, the Amakanko live a quiet life with their cattle, their gods and their ancestors. That is until Khama’s father, the bravest hunter between the Zambesi and the Cape, is killed by an elephant. According to custom, Khama’s uncle marries his widowed mother and takes over the household. […]

Outside the Lines | A Review by Aneesha Puri

Ameera Patel’s Outside the Lines, situated in contemporary Johannesburg, South Africa is a raw depiction of the intermeshed nature of political and personal realities and the human connections, dreams, aspirations of choice and self-alienation that exist in their gaps and fissures. The author dexterously manages a seamless storytelling experience despite the ever-shifting narrative voices that flit between the […]

Yellowbone, Ekow Duker | A Review by Beverley Jane Cornelius

Two strangers from Mthatha (South Africa) cross paths in London when they become embroiled in a well-to-do family’s argument about an antique violin (a 300-year old family heirloom). Consequently, when the violin is stolen, both South Africans travel to Nsawam (Ghana) – one returning to an ancestral home, the other hoping for a sublime musical […]

Of Paper Wives and Cowardly Existence: A Review of Chika Unigwe’s Better Never than Late | Elizabeth Olubukola Olaoye

A good writer can always imagine stories about a place she has never been to. However, for certain stories to get to the heart of the matter, the writer must know her setting and characters enough to understand their motives, to sympathetically portray their impulses, and to accurately capture their “raison d’être”. When such writers […]

Suspense in Southern Africa: Mukuka Chipanta’s Five Nights Before the Summit | A Review by Gilbert Braspenning

Although typified in some blurbs as crime fiction, Mukuka Chipanta’s second novel is so much more than that: it is also a well-crafted historical novel. Detective Maxwell Chanda, head of the Special Crimes Investigation Unit, is tasked with the investigation of the brutal murders of Laura and Henry Hinckley, a white British couple living on […]

Ancient Egyptian Literature | A Review by Muff Andersson

Ancient Egyptian Literature (2019), Miriam Lichtheim (Ed.), University of California Press, 872p., ISBN: 9780520305847 Who was the imagined readership of the pyramid and coffin texts? Did ancient Egyptians carve their autobiographies in the tombs for the living or the dead? What does their papyri poetry tell us about their society, can their sarcophagi stories compare […]

The Markas – An Anthology of Literary Works on Boko Haram | A Review by Françoise Ugochukwu

The Markas is the first anthology on the Boko Haram insurgency, which has blighted northern Nigeria for the past 10 years, causing the death and dislocation of millions. Responding to the perceived world’s apathy, its “loud silence” (pp.16-17), and the absence of memorabilia, the four editors, three of whom are posted at the University of […]

J’ai couru vers le Nil d’Alaa El Aswany | Une critique de Caroline Janssen

Comment un littérateur engagé peut-il rendre hommage aux manifestants de la Place Tahrir? Comment peut-il figer dans le temps le moment fugitif et formidable des événements qui s’y sont déroulés en janvier 2011? Dans son dernier roman ‘J’ai couru vers le Nil’, l’auteur cairote Alaa el Aswany nous explique comment, inspiré par la ‘révolution de […]

Race, Decolonization and Global Citizenship in South Africa | A Review by Elke Seghers

Race, Decolonization, and Global Citizenship in South Africa (2018) by Chielozona Eze takes Nelson Mandela’s vision of global citizenship in the decolonized South Africa as a starting point to examine a range of texts imagining post-apartheid South Africa. This idealistic project is “designed to provide a cohesive argument for an inclusive humanity rooted in empathy” […]

Writing Spatiality in West Africa: Colonial Legacies in the Anglophone/Francophone Novel | A Review by John Masterson

2018 was a productive year for Madhu Krishnan. It saw the publication of Contingent Canons: African Literature and the Politics of Location, as well as Writing Spatiality in West Africa: Colonial Legacies in the Anglophone/Francophone novel. As Krishnan maintains with clarity and conviction in the latter stages of this timely intervention, her scholarship is written […]