African American Authors
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“If you really want to understand South Africa, read black African writers. Read Es'kia Mphahlele,” is the advice proffered to diplomats and scholars by professor and publisher Donald Herdeck. The irony is that in the past, many of Mphahlele's works were out of print or banned under censorship laws in South Africa from the early 1950s on.
Women's writing in Cameroon has so far been dominated by Francophone writers. The short stories in this collection represent the yearnings and vision of an Anglophone woman, who writes both as a Cameroonian and as a woman whose life has been shaped by the minority status her people occupy within the nation-state.
Sol Plaatje is one of South Africa’s most important political and literary figures. A pioneer in the history of the black press, he was one of the founders of the African National Congress, a leading spokesman for black opinion throughout his life, and the author of three well-known books: Mafeking Diary, Native Life in South Africa, and his historical novel, Mhudi. These books are not Plaatje’s only claim to fame.
When a group of young political activists met in 1944 to launch the African National Congress Youth League, it included the nucleus of a remarkable generation of leaders who forged the struggle for freedom and equality in South Africa for the next half century: Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Jordan Ngubane, Ellen Kuzwayo, Albertina Smith, A. P. Mda, Dan Tloome, and David Bopape. It was Anton Lembede, however whom they chose as their first president.
Colonization, Violence, and Narration in White South African Writing
André Brink, Breyten Breytenbach, and J. M. Coetzee
By Rosemary Jane Jolly
The representation of pain and suffering in narrative form is an ongoing ethical issue in contemporary South African literature. Can violence be represented without sensationalistic effects, or, alternatively, without effects that tend to be conservative because they place the reader in a position of superiority over the victim or the perpetrator?
The second edition of To Kill a Man’s Pride builds on the success of the previous edition of this anthology of South African short stories by retaining most of stories, but also featuring more women writers and new male voice, to make it more representative. The milieu remains unambiguously South African, with some stories set in rural areas such as the village, farm or dorp, and others in urban centers such as the big city, suburb or township.
This volume presents a broad overview of the work of seven of Africa’s leading poets. Five of them have received international recognition: Niyi Osundare and Chinua Achebe, the Commonwealth Poetry Prize; Osundare and Antonio Jacinto, the Noma Prize; and Jose Craveirinha, the Camoes Prize. The poems concern political, personal, and social themes and are written with aesthetic simplicity and lyricism.
First published in 1916 and one of South Africa’s great political books, Native Life in South Africa was first and foremost a response to the Native’s Land Act of 1913, and was written by one of the most gifted and influential writers and journalists of his generation. Sol T. Plaatje provides an account of the origins of this crucially important piece of legislation and a devastating description of its immediate effects.
Much recent critical practice, sharpened by an engagement with theory, has questioned conventional notions about literature. The essays in this book reveal the complex and arguably inevitable politicization of South African literary culture.
There is a tendency to regard African literature as a homogenous product. Certainly it is true that African writers have created a vibrant, modern literature. Nevertheless, they come from specific societies and reflect vastly differing worlds. Wanasema attempts to show some of the many faces of African literature. Dramatists, poets and novelists speak in these pages. They write in French, English, Portuguese, Arabic and indigenous languages. Some are Christian; others are Muslim.
From Sleep Unbound portrays the life of Samya, an Egyptian woman who is taken at age 15 from her Catholic boarding school and forced into a loveless and humiliating marriage. Eventually sundered from every human attachment, Samya lapses into despair and despondence, and finally an emotionally caused paralysis. But when she shakes off the torpor of sleep, the sleep of avoidance, she awakens to action with the explosive energy of one who has been reborn.