Latest articles on Literature

African science fiction: rereading the The Palm-Wine Drinkard

Nigerian writer Amos Tutuola wields language as the ultimate form of technology

‘The Sweetest Ache’ extract: Dark brown and midnight black magic

An activist’s encounter with an attractive waitress leads her to take an inventory of her own body in Mercy Thokozane Minah’s ‘The Sweetest Ache’

Dambudzo Marechera’s literary shock treatment

A new book on Zimbabwean writer Dambudzo Marechera draws on both actual and imaginary archives

Maaza Mengiste: ‘We are now catching up with the past’

As war drums beat again in Ethiopia, author Maaza Mengiste finds new language to memorialise the Second Italo-Ethiopian War

The Portfolio: Megan Ross

Author and poet Megan Ross designs books and cover artwork for a living. She speaks to Kwanele Sosibo about her process

A Seat at a Table, Ep 1: The writerly thing to do

Interviews can often demystify the processes behind how people create. It’s always fascinated Phumlani Pikoli to find the tricks to artists’ magic, as explored in his new podcast, ‘A Seat at a Table’

Q&A Sessions: ‘Keeping quiet is not an option’ — Charlotte Lobe

More than a decade after a brief stint on the opposition benches, Charlotte Lobe is helping to fly the South African flag as a senior public servant in the department of international relations and co-operation

Cape Town’s Open Book Festival turns over a new leaf

In the midst of the pandemic the literary festival is hosting podcasts instead of livestreamed panels

A distress signal from Soweto in 1977

A Window on Soweto by Joyce Sikakane-Rankin provided insight during apartheid censorship

‘Before Night Falls’: Reinaldo Arenas breaks down (in) Fidel Castro’s Cuba

Reinaldo Arenas’s memoir reveals the contradiction of a revolutionary society ruled by an autocrat

Achmat Dangor: On writing and change

Celebrated author and political activist Achmat Dangor died on Sunday at the age of  71. Here, in a 1990 interview published in Staffrider, he speaks to Andries Walter Oliphant about his work and aspects of South African literature and culture

An extract from ‘The Broken River Tent’: ‘I chose resistance!’

In this extract from The Broken River Tent, by Mphuthumi Ntabeni, the protagonist, Phila, makes a fiery courtroom speech

Saved by literature and love

“The library was a refuge I could run to when violence ripped at the very fabric of our existence and threatened to extinguish life itself,” writes Dr Barbara Boswell.

Extract: Gunning for Bessie’s head, from ‘The Terrorist Album’

Jacob Dlamini’s new book, The Terrorist Album, tells the stories of people saddled with that catch-all phrase during apartheid and how their presence on that list made them fair game

Meet the founder of Accra’s one-woman library

Sylvia Arthur founded the Library for Africa and the African Diaspora to house her collection and share it with other readers

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Soup for the Sick: A bowl of warmth in a time of need

Soup for the Sick is nourishing hundreds of people too ill to cook for themselves

Q&A Sessions: George Euvrard, the brains behind our cryptic crossword

George Euvrard spoke to Athandiwe Saba about his passion for education, clues on how to solve his crosswords and the importance of celebrating South Africa.

Why prisoners are a priority in vaccine rollout

Inmates comprise a vulnerable group in society and they are meant to receive Covid-19 vaccines earlier than the general population. This has sparked debate locally and globally

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