Editor’s Picks: Black History Month

Here at Casemate IPM, we distribute for several publishers that specialize in African nonfiction and literature. These are a few of our favorite titles, in honor of Black History Month!

For more books like these, check out our Black History Month Reading List:
Reading List Small


 

Penguin Random House South Africa
PRH_BRAND_SYSTEM_REGION_PENGUIN_SOUTHAFRICA

Mandela
9781928213130The global response to Nelson Mandela’s death on 5 December 2013 was unprecedented in the history of the world. Even in death, he managed to do the impossible: to inspire grief at his passing as well as joyous celebration of his remarkable life. In this new edition of Mandela: In Celebration of a Great Life -which includes an additional chapter on Mandela’s death and the events that followed – award-winning writer Charlene Smith traces the life of a great statesman and tells how Nelson Mandela repaired the torn heart of a wounded nation. A successful lawyer, Nelson Mandela sacrificed career, family and freedom to pursue an extravagant ideal: a non-racist, non-sexist future for a nation apparently determined to remain divided. At his release, after almost three decades in jail, he could have pursued narrow interests; instead, he publicly embraced reconciliation and social justice. Nelson Mandela was determined to free not just black South Africans, but all South Africans, from prejudice. And it was in daring to do the unexpected, in weathering criticism from friends, in reaching out to enemies and in acknowledging the most humble that his greatness was revealed.
Buy it here $35.00

The Best of African Folklore
9781432303426Africa has a wonderfully rich store of folk tales that have been passed down from one generation to the next. There are stories about how the world came into being, stories that tell of the relationships between human beings and between man and his environment, and of the lessons to be learned from everyday experience.
The tales are like the fairy tales told all over the world, but they have a strong African flavor that is as real as the smell of rain on hot earth. Despite numerous setbacks, things usually turn out all right in the end. Wicked and greedy people (and animals) come off worst and the good receive their just rewards. The gods are stern but fair, and every story has a moral for those who are wise enough to see it.
Buy it here $12.00

Listening to Distant Thunder
9781775841616Originally published by the Standard Bank as part of a curated exhibition in May 2011, this prestigious volume celebrates the life and works of Peter Clarke (1929-2014), one of South Africa’s foremost artists. A mere 500 copies were originally published, all taken up at the exhibition, and continued demand has led to its re-release. Clarke left his job as a dockworker in Simon’s Town to devote himself to art. The wisdom of this decision is reflected in a remarkable career, which extended over some six decades and was acknowledged in the awards of the Order of Ikhamanga (silver) in 2005 and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.
Listening to Distant thunder: The Art of Peter Clarke recounts an artist’s life in the context of the social history of South Africa from the 1940s onwards. His images reflect the social disruption of the Cape Flats, and the trauma of his community’s forced removal from Simon’s Town to the bleak apartheid township of Ocean View. Yet Clarke’s images have avoided bitterness, and his work is a perceptive scrutiny and celebration of life in all its aspects. Illustrated with over 200 reproductions and photographs, this book was researched and written by well-known South African art historians Philippa Hobbs and Elizabeth Rankin, in close collaboration with the artist over almost seven years.
Buy it here $34.00

Almost Sleeping My Way to Timbuktu
9781415203989The plans for his trip were lean on practical detail, but grand in concept: Visit five World Heritage Sites listed by UNESCO for their historical and cultural significance. Having never set foot in Sénégal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin or Togo, Sihle planned to inform himself about Francophone Africa as he went along. Had he pondered the implications of not speaking French in a part of the world where it is the lingua franca, or what the public transport might be like there, he might have set off less bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. But Sihle is not one to be deterred by setbacks and dead-ends. His flexibility, irrepressible optimism and robust sense of humor, coupled with an unexpected sensitivity towards his host countries, see him reach all his goals – or almost.
Buy it here $18.00

African Myths & Legends
9781432303501A stunning new cover, design and format brings African Myths & Legends, a combination of two earlier publications (Daughter of the Moonlight and Other African Tales and South African Myths and Legends), to life. It is a spellbinding and fascinating collection of tales that will enliven the imagination of young readers. Vividly illustrated, the book sustains the intrigue of storytelling that has been passed on from generation to generation. The magic lies in deciding whether the stories are fact or fiction. The book offers an explanation for the mysteries people encountered in their ordinary daily lives and the norms and social practices that have emerged from these events. Using historical events as a backdrop, yet weaving in fantasy and magic, these extraordinary tales are not only interesting but also highly informative and educational.
Buy it here $12.00


 

Ayebia Clarke Publishing
Ayebia Logo

Nervous Conditions
9780954702335A modern classic in the African literary canon and voted in the Top Ten Africa’s 100 Best Books of the 20th Century, this novel brings to the politics of decolonization theory the energy of women’s rights. An extraordinarily well-crafted work, this book is a work of vision. Through its deft negotiation of race, class, gender and cultural change, it dramatizes the ‘nervousness’ of the ‘postcolonial’ conditions that bedevil us still. In Tambu and the women of her family, we African women see ourselves, whether at home or displaced, doing daily battle with our changing world with a mixture of tenacity, bewilderment and grace.
Buy it here $13.95

The Cry of Winnie Mandela
9780954702304A group of African women at a specific period in Southern Africa’s history find their family life under pressure from capitalist modernity and apartheid. This is a deeply humane, sympathetic and generous book on the one hand but is unflinching in its honesty. Ndebele represents a rare breed of writer able to combine political awareness with a sensitivity towards context, language and characterization. The result is a gift offering to the present. This is one of the best books about women’s sacrifices and contributions to the struggle against apartheid.
Buy it here $13.95

Mr. Happy and the Hammer of God and Other Stories
9780956930712Mr. Happy And The Hammer of God is a significant addition to the genre of the short story in contemporary Ghanaian and African literature. Egblewobge is an emerging talent and if his title seems surreal, his stories are no less so and are unburdened by the African condition representing universal themes. Collectively, this book is a portrayal of inner struggles, torments and the psyche. The author explores different aspects of reality – who and what we are and where we go from here. The stories are sly and ingenious and readers will discover a fresh new voice in this powerful collection. Mr. Happy… raises the bar for emerging talent from Ghana.
Buy it here $13.95

Chinua Achebe
9780956930767Chinua Achebe renowned as Africa’s most famous novelist and author who died in Boston, USA, on 21st March 2013 at the age of 82. He is recognized as the founding father of Modern African writing in English. The publication of his first novel Things Fall Apart not only contested European narratives about Africa but also challenged traditional assumptions about the form and function of the novel. His literary life spanned over fifty years, from the publication of Things Fall Apart (1958) to There Was A Country (2012), his memoir of the Nigerian Biafran war in the 1960s. His first novel, Things Fall Apart – a classic of 20th century fiction has been translated into over 50 languages and sold millions of copies all over the world. Before Achebe came on the world literary scene in the late 1950s, African literature was considered by the rest of the world and more sadly, by many educated Africans themselves, as a quixotic enterprise, in which dark forests and evil spirits held all the shares. Achebe was not only an accomplished writer but also a man who was close to his readers and had the precious gift of being a great communicator and storyteller of African realities. His legacy as one of Africa’s most vocal voices against the ravages of colonialism and its long-term effects on Africa will endure through his writings for generations to come. This volume is a fitting memorial to his legacy. Achebe was the conscience of Africa – his death gives new significance to his writing, anchoring his activism and his literary legacy in eternity. He will be remembered internationally as one of Africa’s greatest writers.
Buy it here $31.95

African Love Stories An Anthology
9780954702366This radical collection of short stories is a double award-winning book aimed at debunking the myth about African women as impoverished victims. The stories deal with challenging themes representing some of the most complex love stories ever published from Africa, ranging from labour pains to burials, teenagers to octogenarians, race-fraught and same-sex relationships, the human heart is out there, bold bleeding and occasionally triumphant. Crafted by a stellar cast of authors including El Saadawi, Adichie, Atta, Baingana, Oyeyemi, Manyika, Aboulela, wa Goro, Badoe, Magona, Tadjo, Krog, Ogundipe, de Nyeko et al. A much welcomed addition to African literature. With contributions from 21 African women writers as follows: From Sudan Leila Aboulela From Egypt Nawal El Saadawi From Cote d’Ivoire Véronique Tadjo From Ghana Yaba Badoe From Nigeria Tomi Adeaga, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Sefi Atta, Rounke Coker, Anthonia C Kalu, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Promise Ogochukwu, Molara Ogundipe, Helen Oyeyemi and Chika Unigwe. From Kenya Wangui wa Goro From South Africa Antjie Krog, Sindiwe Magona. From Uganda Monica Arac de Nyeko, Doreen Baingana and Mildred Kiconco Barya From Zimbabwe Blessing Musariri.
Buy it here $17.95


 

30 Degrees South
30 Degrees South

Stories from the Field
9781920143770‘The benefit of teaching life skills is that I also changed. If I can make a difference in the life of just one child, I will be happy’
When we think about Africa, we often recall pictures of a wild countryside, rivers, forests, deserts, buzzing markets and media stories of poverty, devastation and hunger – a prime continent where branches of human justice are still thin and often absent. Those of us who have made Africa our destination are witness to a different experience as we meet people who charter a life of resilience and construct a social world of their own. Extended family ties stretch far and deep and so do family feuds, political turmoil and the many manifestations of poverty – painting a human canvas on which development programs (including sport-for-development) need to blend in strokes for reciprocal change.
The GIZ/YDF program is possibly one of the most significant programs in terms of philosophy, methodology and scope that sheds light on development work as it is embraced, transformed and assimilated into real-life experiences. It is at this embedded level of social uptake that the selected 15 stories in the text and the detailed 45 stories on the CD articulate real-life experiences as told by program participants, peer- educators and YDF partners who took up the responsibility and challenge to change lives for the better. Multiple voices give an expression to the meaning and dynamics of sports-related interventions as they affect individuals within a myriad of social relationships and contexts. The uniqueness of this publication is that it not only captures all these voices to constitute stories from nine African countries, but validates a ripple of impact where context is a prism for seeing and knowing. How do real people see and benefit from a sport-for-development program? How does the North meet the South in partnership and trust? After reading these stories, you will not merely see young boys or girls kicking a ball and appreciate the novel aesthetics, but you will smell the dust and know it is a family and community at play. You will realize that aspirations and expectations are born from a need for entitlement in a field where the pitch is only the beginning of a journey. May this brief encounter do justice to all who shared their lives with such honesty and hope.
Buy it here $24.95

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