(Reposted with big love en respekt from) Chuka Nnabuife on why 2011 is the Year of Interesting Books Coming
NEXT year will be eventful in the African books section. Already publishers are introducing books they will release in the first half of the year. Amazon will put out a new anthology containing the works of Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, John Coetzee, Nardine Gordimer, Ben Okri and other Caine Prize winning writers. Ngugi wa Thiongo will also come out with a new book due for release in February 2011 on the Amazon list.
In Pambazuka Press, an about to be released book, No Land! No House! No Vote! Voices from Symphony Way, captures the tale of resilence while throwing the reader back to memory of the segregative Apartheid rule in South Africa.
The anthology of factual tales captured in both poetic and prose (media feature report format) narrates the several accounts of Cape Town, South Africa’s Symphony Way pavement dwellers who, like in film story, found themselves catapulted from their hitherto poor settlement to an better developed estate upon the end of the Apartheid only to be pushed out of the houses almost as suddenly as their fortune changed.
The publishers promote the work thus: “This anthology is written by shack-dwelling families in Cape Town who were moved into houses but soon afterwards evicted again. They organised the Symphony Way Anti-Eviction and here write about their experiences.
“Many outside South Africa imagine that after Mandela was freed and the ANC won free elections all was well. But the last two decades have led to increased poverty and inequality. Although a few black South Africans have become wealthy, for many the struggle against apartheid never ended because the ethos of apartheid continues to live.”
The book follows several hundreds of shanty-dwelling families in Cape Town who, early in 2007, were moved into houses they had been waiting for since the end of Apartheid. But soon they were told that the move had been illegal and they were kicked out of their new homes. In protest, they built shacks next to the road opposite the housing project. And, soon a vibrant settlement of hundreds of ramshackled huts inhabited by organised protesting settlers blossomed there. It became known as Symphony Way. Home ground of Symphony Way Anti-Eviction Campaign, whose membership vowed to stay on the road until the government gave them permanent housing. Eventually, the tales from the protesting slum-dwellers turns out a warm, close-knit and eventful one – full of vibrant communal lives, simmering relationships, love, hate and blood ties. The book also rubs off some disturbing feeling that the robust but poor settlement was forcefully moved to make the country host last summer’s football’s World Cup without what the authorities deem an odd sight for tourists.
Promoters’ of the book who inform that its audience target include anthropologists, activists, campaigners, NGO-workers, academics, journalists, commentators state: “This anthology is both testimony and poetry. There are stories of justice miscarried, of violence domestic and public, of bigotry and xenophobia. But amid the horror there is beauty: relationships between aunties, husbands, wives and children; daughters named Hope and Symphony. This book is a means to dignity, a way for the poor to reflect and be reflected. It is testimony that there’s thinking in the shacks, that there are humans who dialogue, theorise and fight to bring about change.
“Two Symphony Way evictees were featured in a Guardian article of 1 April 2010: Badronessa Morris: ‘The police treat us like animals. They swear at us, pepper spray us, search us in public, even children. At 10 o’clock you must be inside: the police come and tell you to go into your place and turn down the music. In my old home we used to sit outside all night with the fire.’
Jane Roberts: ‘It’s a dumping place. They took people from the streets because they don’t want them in the city for the World Cup. Now we are living in a concentration camp.’
No Land! No House! No Vote! Voices from Symphony Way set for release in March 2011 is available for ebook order in United Kingdom.
Another up coming book of interest from the same publishers is African Sexualities: A Reader, by Sylvia Tamale. In the work Ms Tamale probes, the perculiar traits of African sexualities with the aim “to inspire a new generation of students and teachers to study, reflect and gain fresh and critical insights into the complex issues of gender and sexuality.”
Promoters say the book seeks to open new frontiers of thinking about African notiopns of sex. African Sexualities stretches the space to several spheres of multidisciplinary scholarship.
The book with authors who are scholars, researchers, professionals, practitioners and experts from different regions of Africa and Africa’s Diaspora comes in themed sections, all introduced by a framing essay.”
The authors use essays, case studies, poetry, news clips, songs, fiction, memoirs, letters, interviews, short film scripts and photographs from a wide political spectrum to examine dominant and deviant sexualities, analyse the body as a site of political, cultural and social contestation and investigate the intersections between sex, power, masculinities and femininities. The book adopts a feminist approach that analyses sexuality within patriarchal structures of oppression while also highlighting its emancipatory potential.
“As well as using popular culture to help address the ‘what, why, how, when and where’ questions, the contributors also provide a critical mapping of African sexualities that informs readers about the plurality and complexities of African sexualities – desires, practices, fantasies, identities, taboos, abuses, violations, stigmas, transgressions and sanctions. At the same time, they pose gender-sensitive and politically aware questions that challenge the reader to interrogate assumptions and hegemonic sexuality discourses, thereby unmapping the intricate and complex terrain of African sexualities.
“The blend of approaches and styles enhances the book’s accessibility and usefulness for teaching as well as allowing for historical and textual contextualisation.”
It is written for audiences in the higher education and postgradute levels. Due date of emerging from press is June 2011.
Among other books coming from Pambazuka and Fahamu books are African Women Writing Resistance, An Anthology of Contemporary Voices an anthology of African-born contributors who “move beyond the linked dichotomies of victim/oppressor and victim/heroine to present their experiences of resistance in full complexity: they are at the forward edge of the tide of women’s empowerment moving across Afrika.”
My Dream is to be Bold, a feminist oriented work is among them as well as Dust from our Eyes an Unblinkered Look at Africa, a Joan Baxter tale of the diversity of Africa and the resilience and spirit of its people.
From Citizen to Refugee, Uganda Asians come to Britain by Mahmood Mamdani is another nostalgia awakening book to be expected. It dwells on the seriously embattled life of Asians in Uganda during the eventful dictatorial reign of the late Gen. Idi Amin in the 1970s. It is a re-publication of 1972’s original. The author, Mamdani, an eye witness, describes the feelings experienced by Uganda’s Asians and tells of their camps’ political culture.