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BKLYN BookMatch: South African Realistic Fiction & Memoirs

This list was created by a librarian with Brooklyn Public Library for a reader. These titles include memoirs and fiction by non-white South African writers. Would you like your own personalized list of reading suggestions? Visit Bklyn BookMatch, here:

5 items

Memoirs of a born free : reflections on the new South Africa by a member of the post-apartheid generation

Malaika wa Azania, author. |

Apartheid isn't over-so Malaika Wa Azania boldly argues in Memoirs of a Born Free, her account of growing up black in modern-day South Africa. Malaika was born in late 1991, as the white minority government was on its way out, making her a "Born Free"-the name given to the generation born after the end of apartheid. But Malaika's experience with institutionalized racism offers a view of South Africa that contradicts the implied racial liberation of the so-called Rainbow Nation. Recounting her upbringing in a black township racked by poverty and disease, the death of a beloved uncle at the hands of white police, and her alienation at multiracial schools, she evokes a country still held in thrall by de facto apartheid. She takes us through her anger and disillusionment with the myth of black liberation to the birth and development of her dedication to the black consciousness movement, which continues to be a guiding force in her life.

Unmaking Grace

Boswell, Barbara (Barbara-Anne), author. |

Family secrets run deep for Grace, a young girl growing up in Cape Town during the 1980's. Her family secrets spill over into adulthood, and threaten to ruin the respectable life she has built for herself. When an old childhood friend emerges after disappearing a decade earlier during a clash with apartheid riot police in the Cape Flats, where South Africa's coloured community makes its home, Grace's memories of her childhood come rushing back, and she is confronted, once again, with the loss that has shaped her. She has to face up to the truth or continue to live a lie--but the choice is not straightforward. Unmaking Grace is an intimate portrayal of violence, both personal and political, and its legacy on one person's life. It meditates on the long shadow cast by personal trauma, showing the inter-generational imprint of violence and loss on people's lives.

The reactive : a novel

Ntshanga, Masande, 1986- |

The story of Lindanathi, a young HIV+ man grappling with the death of his brother, for which he feels unduly responsible. He and his friends Cecelia and Ruan work low-paying jobs and sell anti-retroviral drugs (during the period in South Africa before ARVs became broadly distributed). In between, they huff glue, drift through parties, and traverse the streets of Cape Town where they observe the grave material disparities of their country.

Love interrupted

Malatji, Reneilwe, 1968- author. |

In her debut collection of short fiction, Reneilwe Malatji invites us into the intimate lives of South African women--their whispered conversations, their love lives, their triumphs and heartbreaks. This diverse chorus of female voices recounts misadventures with love, family, and community in powerful stories woven together with anger, politics, and wit. Malatji crafts an engaging collection full of rich, memorable characters who navigate work, love, patriarchy, and racism with thoughtfulness, strength, and humor.

Born a crime

Trevor Noah. |

The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man's coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.