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Africa: Book Notes
Jul 6, 2010 (100706)
(Reposted from sources cited below)
This AfricaFocus contains a diverse selection of recent books
likely to be of interest and new to AfricaFocus readers. You will
find, for example, new books by Africa's distinguished elders, such
as Achebe, wa Thiong'o, and Mandela. Selected new books from
publishers such as Africa World Press, HSRC Press, and Aflame
Books. Books on topical themes such as SMS activism and other ICT
developments, on India and China's relations with Africa, and on
xenophobia and migration. And more.
In the topical groups, I have also included several books that are
not specifically focused on Africa, because I regard their analysis
of key global issues as highly relevant in the context of Africa.
I've added brief descriptions for some books, but have opted not to in
most cases, in order to give you more to browse without making this
Bulletin much longer. You can easily find out more by clicking on
the links or just using a Google search.
These are only a small sample of the books available in AfricaFocus
Bookshop (http://www.africafocus.org/books/afbooks.php), where you
will also find lists organized by country and by selected topics
(just added: a recommended selection of books on Women in Africa,
contributed by Kathleen Sheldon. See
I've also added a few references to new mystery novels by African
writers such as Kwei Quartey, Mukoma wa Ngugi, and Deon Meyer and
to my essay "Is the Mystery Novel Going Global," on my website for
mystery novels with a sense of place (http://www.mysteryplaces.net).
And remember, any book you order from Amazon in a web visit that
begins with AfricaFocus Bookshop or Mysteryplaces.net brings a
small commission to support AfricaFocus, at no extra cost to you.
++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++++++++
New Books from Distinguished Elders
Chinua Achebe, The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays.
Chinua Achebe's characteristically measured and nuanced voice is
everywhere present in these seventeen beautifully written pieces.
In "The Education of a British-Protected Child," Achebe gives us a
vivid portrait of growing up in colonial Nigeria and inhabiting its
"middle ground," recalling both his happy memories of reading
novels in secondary school and the harsher truths of colonial rule.
The complex politics and history of Africa figure in "What Is
Nigeria to Me?," "Africa's Tarnished Name," and "Politics and
Politicians of Language in African Literature."
Nelson Mandela, Conversations with Myself, with a foreword by
Barack Obama. Coming October 2010.
Conversations with Myself draws on Mandela's personal archive of
never-before-seen materials to offer unique access to the private
world of an incomparable world leader. Journals kept on the run
during the anti-apartheid struggle of the early 1960s; diaries and
draft letters written in Robben Island and other South African
prisons; and more--from a historic collection of documents archived
at the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance.
Novelist Ngugi wa Thiong'o has been a force in African literature
for decades: Since the 1970s, when he gave up the English language
to commit himself to writing in African languages, his foremost
concern has been the critical importance of language to culture. In
Something Torn and New, Ngugi explores Africa's historical,
economic, and cultural fragmentation by slavery, colonialism, and
Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks.
Technology trends that are lowering prices for accessing and
producing information are fundamentally changing the opportunities
for African countries to compensate for their structural
disadvantages in the world economy.The phenomenon Benkler describes
as social production is reshaping markets, while at the same time
offering new opportunities. Benkler's book is a fundamental guide
to the new realities of the information age.
Miriam de Bruijn, Francis B. Naymnjoh, Inge Brinkman, eds., Mobile
Phones: The New Talking Drums of Everyday Africa.
Mobile phones have become part and parcel of the communication
landscape in many urban and rural areas of Africa and the growth of
mobile telephony is amazing: from 1 in 50 people being users in
2000 to 1 in 3 in 2008. Rich in theoretical innovation and
empirical substantiation, this book brings together reflections on
developments around the mobile phone by scholars of six African
countries (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Sudan and
Sokari Ekine, ed., SMS Uprising: Mobile Activism in Africa.
Edited by Nigerian activist Sokari Ekine, who runs the
prize-winning blog Black Looks, the book brings together some of
the best known and experienced developers and users of mobile phone
technologies in Africa, including Juliana Rotich from Ushahidi in
Kenya, Ken Banks of Kiwanja.net, and Berna Ngolobe of WOUGNET in
Don Osborn, African Languages in a Digital Age: Challenges and
opportunities for indigenous language computing.
This book is the result of several years of observation, analysis,
consultation and synthesis of the adaptation of ICTs to local
languages in Africa. The goal of the Pan Africa Localization
project led by Don Osborn was to closely track the progress of ICTs
in African languages and clearly identify the priorities that the
Pan African Network for Localization (ANLOC) will pursue in its
work plan. This book is a revised version of the project's final
China, India, and Africa
For more books on China and Africa, see
Harry Broadman, Africa's Silk Road: China and India's New Economic
One of the earliest studies to call attention to the roles of China
and India, from the World Bank. See excerpts in
Fantu Cheru and Cyril Obi, eds. The Rise of China and India in
A wide-ranging newly published collection of essays, from the
Nordic Africa Institute.
Prem Shankar Jha, Crouching Dragon, Hidden Tiger: Can China and
India Dominate the West?
From an Indian scholar and policy analyst, a study that goes beyond
hype into analysis of the policy and class contradictions in the
policies of both countries.
More New Books from Featured Publishers
Pauline Chiziane, Niketche
A farce that celebrates the triumph of six women over one
philandering man, this novel uses an age-old African story to
address the subjection of women in modern Mozambique. After 20
years of marriage, Rami discovers that her husband, a senior police
officer in Maputo, has a very big secret: he has been supporting
four other households, complete with wives and children, for many
years. Rami turns the tables. She and the other women quickly join
forces to demand their rights, their voices, and support for their
Africa World Press
Dike Okoro, ed., Speaking for the Generations: An Anthology of
Contemporary African Short Stories.
This anthology aims to represent the best of contemporary African
short stories written in English. Familiar names such as Benjamin
Kwakye, Tijan Sallah, Zahra Ramij, Freddy Macha, Arja Salafranca,
Odun Balogun, Tanure Ojaide, Jackee Budesta Batanda, Lola Shoneyin,
Mohamed Said Raihani and Omar Akikli are present along with the new
talent of younger generation which includes Kondwani Kamiyala,
Ayobami Adebayo, Prince Mensah, Dipita Kwa, Khadija El Younossi.
(2) Behnaz Mirzai, Ismael Musah Montana, Paul Lovejoy, Slavery,
Islam and Diaspora.
Slavery, Islam and Diaspora explores slavery in the context of the
Muslim world through a study of the African Diaspora. The volume
identifies the enslaved population as a distinct social stratum in
Islamic societies and reflects on the ways Islam has been used to
justify enslavement, liberate slaves, and defend the autonomy of
communities. ... A cast of talented scholars provides a rich and
remarkable volume on the crucial linkages between Islam and slavery
in different spaces and places, as well as historical eras. - Toyin
Falola, University of Texas
HSRC books are available for download from
Omano Edigheji, Constructing a Democratic Developmental State
in South Africa: Potentials and Challenges.
In this seminal collection, an interdisciplinary team of
distinguished scholars examine how South Africa could go about
building a democratic developmental state, while drawing on
relevant conceptual models and useful comparative experiences from
other countries. Among the chapters of particular interest are the
introduction by the editor Omano Edigheji, an overview essay by
Peter B. Evans on "Constructing the 21st century developmental
state," Thandkika Mkandawire's "From maladjusted states to
democratic developmental states in Africa," and Seeraj Mohamed's
critique dissecting "The effect of a mainstream approach to
economic and corporate governance on development in South Africa."
Björn Beckman, Sakhela Buhlungu, Lloyd Sachikonye (eds), Trade
Unions and Party Politics: Labour movements in Africa.
This volume examines the political role of trade unions in seven
African countries and the various ways in which they seek to
influence political parties and the state. Whereas some, like the
Nigeria Labour Congress, push for a political party of their own,
others, such as COSATU in South Africa, opt to engage with the
power struggles in the ruling party. In Namibia and Uganda unions
have been incorporated by a one-party dominated state while in
Ghana, unions insist on being autonomous. There is also a move
towards autonomy in Senegal, despite the plurality of unions with
party affiliations. In the case of Zimbabwe, unions took the lead
in creating an alternative alliance in opposition to a repressive
Chambi Chachage, Annar Cassam, eds., Africa's Liberation: The
Legacy of Nyerere.
This book includes contributions from leading commentators, those
who worked and fought imperialism alongside Nyerere, members of a
younger generation - and Nyerere in his own words. Their writings
reflect on Nyerere and liberation, the Commonwealth, leadership,
economic development, land, human rights and education. Above all,
they are a testament to the growing recognition of the need to
rekindle the fires of African socialism to which Nyerere was deeply
Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, Speaking Truth to Power: Selected
Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem's untimely death on African Liberation Day
2009 stunned the Pan-African world. This selection of his
Pan-African Postcards, written between 2003 and 2009, demonstrates
the brilliant wordsmith he was, his steadfast commitment to
Pan-Africanism and his determination to speak truth to power. He
was a discerning analyst of developments in the global and
Pan-African world and a vociferous believer in the potential of
Africa and African people; he wrote his weekly postcards for over
New Teaching Resources
William Worger, Nancy Clark, and Edward Alpers, eds., Africa and
the West: A Documentary History, Vol. 1: From the Slave Trade to
William Worger, Nancy Clark, and Edward Alpers, eds., Africa and
the West: A Documentary History: Volume 2: From Colonialism to
Independence, 1875 to the Present.
Fatima Sadiqi, Amira Nowaira, Azza El Kholy, Moha Ennaji, eds.,
Women Writing Africa: The Northern Region (v. 4).
[All volumes of this series are also included in a new listing in
the AfricaFocus Bookshop of books on Women in Africa, recommended
by Kathleen Sheldon, at http://www.africafocus.org/books/women-africa.php]
Voices from Liberation History
Bernard Magubane, My Life & Times.
John S. Saul, Revolutionary Traveller: Freeze Frames from a Life
Vladimir Shubin, The Hot "Cold War": The USSR in Southern Africa.
And don't forget No Easy Victories: African Liberation and American
Activists over a Half Century, 1950-2000 (excerpts and discount
order available at http://www.noeasyvictories.org). Excerpts
available on line include the reference list at
New Books on Migration, Citizenship, and Xenophobia
Aderanti Adepoju, ed., International Migration within, to and from
Africa in a Globalised World.
Jonathan Crush, Bruce Frayne, eds., Surviving on the Move:
Migration, Poverty and Development in Southern Africa
Bronwen Manby, Struggles for Citizenship in Africa.
Michael Neocosmos, From "Foreign Natives" to "Native Foreigners".
Explaining Xenophobia in Post-apartheid South Africa. 2nd Ed
Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz, Timothy Patrick Moran, Unveiling
Inequality: A World-Historical Perspective.
Football / Soccer
Peter Alegi, African Soccerscapes: African Soccerscapes: How a
Continent Changed the World's Game.
Steve Bloomfield, Africa United: Soccer, Passion, Politics, and the
First World Cup in Africa.
Chuch Korr, Marvin Close, More Than Just a Game: Soccer vs.
Deon Meyer, Thirteen Hours.
Mukoma wa Ngugi, Nairobi Heat.
Kwei Quartey, Wife of the Gods.
And for background and much, much more for those of you who read
mystery novels, here's a short excerpt from my essay "Is the
Mystery Novel Going Global?" You can read the full essay and find
a site organized by country and author at
Sweden's Lisbet Salander and Botswana's Precious Ramotswe may have
little else in common. But these fictional detectives created by
Stieg Larsson and Alexander McCall Smith are both harbingers of a
trend which is gathering force: the globalization of the mystery
novel. Along with the familiar scenes of English villages, London
and Manhattan streets, and Los Angeles freeways, airport kiosks
around the world feature books set in cold Nordic landscapes and
African cities, in the high mountains of Tibet and in Brazil's
English-language readers can now sample mysteries and thrillers
quickly translated not only from French, German, and Spanish but
from a score of other languages. And although the authors are still
much less diverse than the locations, and many countries are still
unrepresented in the international marketplace, China's Qiu
Xiaolong, Cuba's José Latour, and South Africa's Deon Meyer, for
example, have established outstanding mystery series with many
loyal followers. And Kwei Quartey and Mukoma wa Ngugi, to cite only
two younger writers, have published their first novels in what we
hope will be ongoing series set in their home countries of Ghana
(continued at http://mysteryplaces.net/essays/global_mysteries.php)
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