Today is (was) Africa Day. My favourite way of celebrating Africa is by celebrating her literature – and by implication, her narratives.
I have loads of posts about South African books, but not one about the continent. Here is a handful of my favourite pan-African books. There are many more. I am shamefully missing a bunch of countries on the continent – please do recommend some good books in countries not listed below. Preferably written by an author from the relevant country. Continue reading “An Africa Day Collective”→
As a little girl, my dad created a special story and character with which to entertain me at bedtime. Her name was Lientjie (pronounced “Linky”) and she was a “cheerful butterfly”. As you may recall, my dad is visually impaired, so bedtime stories were told (often of his own invention, as is this one) and not read.
Lientjie was so well-loved that she was introduced to my little sister and little brother, and also our cousins. She is an institution in our family, so to speak.
Recently we bought my dad an awesome birthday gift: a Crosley Troubadour, which plays vinyls, tapes, and all other media. It has a great function where you can burn your tapes and vinyls to MP3 format. So courtesy of that, i get to share an excerpt of my dad’s story!
You’re in for a treat, too; because I just loved the limelight as a little girl and I couldn’t stop interjecting. Sometimes, I lost the plot completely, almost changing the entire story!
If you don’t understand Afrikaans, I’m sorry that you won’t understand this clip. However, for a long time I have been threatening to turn my dad’s stories into children’s books. If we do this, you may well get to read them. 🙂
If you do understand it… let me know what you think 🙂
When you’re an African abroad, you learn quickly to spot fellow Africans. You learn that it is an instinct rather than recognition of attributes, because you have certainly never been tempted to greet a group of African-Americans in Swahili.
I’ve decided to start a new sort-of series (that will obviously be completely irregular) about things I learn from books. Fictional books! I love learning new things, and that’s not only limited to topics in my chosen profession. One of the reasons I love reading is that it opens my eyes to so many things I never knew, or points of view I had not considered.
1. I see someone who was lucky enough to travel to a magnificent continent
And we welcome you. We welcome you to feel in your bones the wealth of our loam soil. Listen to the stories whispered by our winds. Immerse yourself in our skies. We welcome you to open your heart – and your eyes – to see that our narrative is more than one of suffering.
I wrote this post as a note on Facebook exactly five years ago, 6 July 2010. I’m often ashamed when I read my past writings, but this isn’t one of those times. I’ve left it exactly as is. I’m not sure how much sense it will make to people who are not familiar with South Africa, but I decided to share it here in any case. I’ve hyperlinked some things for comprehension’s sake.
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The extravagant price-increases as brought on by the hosting of the FIFA World Cup recently necessitated a 12-hour road-trip to Cape Town, as opposed to the usual 90-minute flight.
A cold and dark 05:00 morning progressed just as we progressed through the land of memories.
Memories of debating trips – so many debating trips.
While I was in beautiful Cape Town for my leave (wow, that was a long time ago), my sister and I mused about how we have access to this gorgeous country simply by virtue of being born here. “Just think,” she said, “people pay thousands of rands to see Table Mountain, and here we are, just walking around and seeing it as much as we want!” She was quite right, of course – at the same time, the MV Explorer was docked in Cape Town.
But for a long time, I’ve been thinking how not all who are born in our country have access to these attractions on a very basic level.
Virtually everywhere I have traveled, foreigners pay more than locals to see attractions. I saw this for the first time in China in 2011, where foreigners are very clearly divided from locals wishing to visit the Huanglong caves.
While on holiday in Zambia I read two absolutely breathtaking books. I bought both of these books myself and was not asked to review them, but I feel the need to share them with everyone.
A prelude: The number of displaced persons in Africa is huge. We have many refugees and many internally displaced persons and in South Africa, the supposed land of milk and honey, many foreigners have been victims of xenophobia. This year especially has seen flares in violence against persons perceived to be foreigners There are a lot of politics underlying the whole story, and it’s not something I necessarily understand well enough to explain in simple terms, but it is tangible in this land.