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Some African literature to get your bookshelf started

Captivating books that you will actually enjoy reading can add some interest to your virtual meeting background.

Virtual meetings have become the order of the day, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. And whether you are meeting online with ministers of departments, spokesmen, medical experts or even President Cyril Ramaphosa himself, there is one constant – present in the background, a well-stocked bookshelf.

If you would like to follow suit, we’ve put together a list of books, courtesy of Melville’s Book Circle Capital that will not only look good in your meeting, but that you might actually enjoy reading too.

Black Tax: Burden or Ubuntu by Niq Mhlongo, @NiqMhlongo
A secret torment for some, a proud responsibility for others, ‘black tax’ is a daily reality for thousands of black South Africans. In this thought-provoking and moving anthology, a provocative range of voices share their deeply personal stories.

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite, @OyinBraithwaite
A short, darkly funny, hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends. In the story, Braithwaite touches on the importance of human psychology, especially the role of therapy and psychotherapists in lives affected by trauma.

Red Apple Dreams and other Stories by Siphiwo Mahala, @SiphiwoMahala
This vibrant compilation blends fresh and classic stories into an intertextual feast, in which the author and guest contributors showcase and respond to time-honoured works by Can Themba, James Matthews and Njabulo Ndebele. The resultant chorus of voices, conducted with flair, makes for an essential addition to the library of every lover of African literature.

The Broken River Tent by Mpush Ntabeni, @mpushntabeni
This book marries imagination with history. It’s 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.

The Eyes of the Naked by Litha Hermanus, @LithaHermanus
Tells the gripping tale of a man who, after becoming embroiled in a crime, flees to Mthatha, taking his son with him, without his ex-wife’s knowledge. The novel boldly confronts various social and cultural norms. What does it mean to be a man? To be a father in today’s world?

The Zulus of New York by Zakes Mda, @ZakesMda
Mda reconstructs the story of a group of Zulus sent to England and later the United States in the 1880s by William Leonard Hunt, also known as The Great Farini, to perform as ‘human curiosities’ or ‘freak shows’ in his popular circus. The story is based on historical events that took place at the height of Zulu fascination after they defeated the British at the Battle of Isandlwana.

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