What should I read next? Whenever one gets to the end of a good book it’s time to line up the next read. Maybe it’s time to consider a great South African author. Non-fiction is often high on the list with some powerful books coming out recently relating to South African politics but there are some fantastic fiction options too.
Lauren Beukes is an awarding Johannesburg born novelist who wrote the highly acclaimed The Shining Girls in 2013. The book is about a time-travelling serial-killer and a survivor who changes the hunt. It won The Strand Magazine Critic’s Best Novel Award, the RT Thriller of the Year, the Exclusive Books Readers Choice Award and the prestigious accolade, The University of Johannesburg Prize. If you like this novel you can also look out for her 2011 hardboiled crime thriller Zoo City (2011) which showcases issues regarding magic, crime, the music industry, redemption and refugees in a re-imagined Johannesburg.
Although we’ve been in a legislatively desegregated country for over 20 years – interracial relationships are still challenging for many and The Love Diary of a Zulu Boy by Bhekisisa Mncube delves into the topic of love across the colour line. This is a provocative memoir, based on the author’s experiences of being married to an English white woman, exposes how he was called a traitor to his people and what it was like to meet his in-laws for the first time. A unique book for the South African market, The Love Diary of a Zulu Boy is written with an honesty rarely encountered in autobiographical writing.
The Theory of Flight is Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu’s first novel, but it has been highly acclaimed and is on the Women 24’s “10 books by African authors you have to read in 2019” list. With a cast of unforgettable characters and moments of surreal beauty, the book sketches decades of history in an unnamed Southern African nation. Focusing on the daily triumphs of its people, the necessity of art, and the power of its visionaries to take flight. Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu is a writer, filmmaker and academic who holds a PhD from Stanford University, as well as master’s degrees in African Studies and Film. She has published research on Saartjie Baartman and she wrote, directed and edited the award-winning short film Graffiti. Born in Zimbabwe, she currently lives and works in Johannesburg.
The Zulu Wedding is the book adaptation of a film by the same name from Dudu Basani-Dube, who also wrote the popular Hlomu series of self-published novels. 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. Busani-Dube is a 36-year-old print journalist by day and author by night. She was approached by the film makers to write the book and create different experiences that are not found in the movie.
Deon Meyer is a South African born thriller novelist who is high on the GoodReads.com list of South African authors. His books have been translated into 27 languages and his thirteen novels and two short story collections have been published in over 40 countries. A long-time resident of Melkbosstrand, most of his novels are set in Cape Town with thrilling chases and suspense ridden scenes taking place through real and imaginary places in the Mother City. Thirteen Hours is acclaimed as “The finest novel yet from the undisputed king of South African crime writing” winner of the 2011 Boeke Prize in South Africa and shortlisted for the 2010 CWA International Dagger for Best Translated Crime Fiction. Other great reads from Meyer include Icarus and 7 Days.
If that isn’t enough to get you going with South African books – then we don’t know what is! Happy reading and feel free to come to our Facebook page to discuss your experiences with these great South African authors.