This year i vowed to come closer to home and start reading more work by African writers. So far i have read one book, (and yes it was by an African writer). I’m working on getting to at least 30 works of literature by December as school doesn’t really allow for much leisurely reading.
Anyway, with it being the Women’s History Month(International Women’s Month) i decided to honor all the ineffable and highly talented female African writers i am currently loving. I tried to mix fiction writers, poets and even the satirical pan African is in the list too.
1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
My list would have been incomplete had i not mentioned Chimamanda. Everyone who knows me knows how entirely enthralled i am by her. she has numerous awards to her name and her TED talk “We should all be feminists” has given her even more international acclaim. In the talk, she relates some incidents that happened to her or to women that make one really wonder why gender inequalities are still a thing and how sometimes African culture has an influence on them. She further appeals the need for feminism to not be seen as a thing for just women but as a principle to live by. Her novels Purple Hibiscus, Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun are great works of literature that truly capture her homeland Nigeria and its rich history in a way that only she can master. The Thing around Your Neck is a twelve short story compilation published in 2009 is one of the books i am really looking forward to getting my hands on.
2. Gcina Mhlope
I first read Miss Mhlope’s work when i was a seventeen year old high school student, it was the first poem we read for my English Literature class. We read the poem Say No, Black Woman Say No. It is a poem urging women to resist apartheid and was written at a time when women really didnt have a voice. It’s greatly moving and i remember getting home and rereading it out loud to myself. For my final exam it was one of the poems i chose to write about and that made me proud of myself. She is not just a poet advocating for women’s rights, she was a freedom fighter, she is a storyteller, a playwright, director and author. Amazing women like her deserve all the accolades and awards she has and more.
3. Unity Dow
Unity Dow, to me is the true embodiment of a hardworking woman. She grew up from humble and very traditional beginnings and made her way to becoming one of the most respected lawyer then judge in Botswana and internationally to now being the Minister of Education. Mrs Dow, is a true over achiever not only is she a human rights activist she is also a writer with five books to her name. Her books often take a look at the discrepancies between western and traditional values and also take a look at gender related issues and poverty mainly focusing on her country, Botswana. Her work comes highly recommended to anyone who wants to be in the mind of such an amazing woman.
4. Lebogang Mashile
Miss Mashile is a poet, television personality and actress amongst other things. Her poetry is gutsy and soul reaching, it carries no filters and she writes whats on her heart mind or soul. She shot to fame as a young poet in 2002 with her hip hop inspired poetry. Nowadays Miss Mashile is an accomplished poet and advocate for both women and children’s rights. She is an Ambassador for the Film and Publication Board’s ”Say NO to child pornography” campaign. She still writes, and she still recites her beautiful poetry. My personal favorite poem by her is You and I.
5. No Violet Bulawayo
No Violet Bulawayo is the pen name of Zimbabwean writer ,Elizabeth Zandile Tshele. She has won the Caine Short Story prize and numerous other awards and honors for her writing. Her debut novel , We Need New Names was released in 2013 and was included in the Man Booker prize. I am really looking forward to reading it. Its at the top of my reading list.
6. Siyanda Mohutsiwa
This last writer is one i really love. She is a talented twenty-one year old Motswana, Mathematics student and writer. She is known for her quirky yet honest outbursts of her views on politics, gender issues and pan African issues. Siyanda is also a satirical writer who always finds a way to bring out the humor and lighter side in sometimes serious issues. Her work is featured on a few newspapers and blogs but you can check out http://siyandawrites.com/ for some samples of her work. Siyanda sometimes writes fiction too, which is also as perfectly crafted as all her work is.
These amazing African women deserve all the praise they get. If you guys know of any more writers i should feature or read or anything, feel free to leave their names in the comment box.
To all the amazing women; my mother, and every other beautiful woman i wish you strength, love, prosperity and happiness. Stay Amazing. ❤