Take Me Away Saturday
Thanks to Quirky Bibliophile of On Page and Screen for inspiring me to restart this feature. :) She has a great blog, go visit it!
This week we are visiting the African country of South Africa:
The Republic of South Africa is the country that sits on the southern tip of Africa. South Africa is a very ethnically and culturally diversified country with 11 official languages, 2 of which are English and Afrikaans. Learn more about South Africa here and through the books below.
(There is a list of both countries and cultures visited in past Take Me Away posts at the bottom of this post. Check them out and discover some good books to read and recommend some, too!)
The most famous and important novel in South Africa's history, and an immediate worldwide bestseller when it was published in 1948, Alan Paton's impassioned novel about a black man's country under white man's law is a work of searing beauty.
In a South Africa turned by war, Michael K. sets out to take his ailing mother back to her rural home. On the way there she dies, leaving him alone in an anarchic world of brutal roving armies. Imprisoned, Michael is unable to bear confinement and escapes, determined to live with dignity. This life affirming novel goes to the center of human experience—the need for an interior, spiritual life; for some connections to the world in which we live; and for purity of vision.
Zinzi has a Sloth on her back, a dirty 419 scam habit and a talent for finding lost things. But when a little old lady turns up dead and the cops confiscate her last paycheck, she’s forced to take on her least favourite kind of job – missing persons. Being hired by reclusive music producer Odi Huron to find a teenybop pop star should be her ticket out of Zoo City, the festering slum where the criminal underclass and their animal companions live in the shadow of hell’s undertow. Instead, it catapults Zinzi deeper into the maw of a city twisted by crime and magic, where she’ll be forced to confront the dark secrets of former lives – including her own.
David Schmahmann's stunning debut novel is an accomplished, arresting tale of forbidden love during apartheid in South Africa. Danny Devin is a young white man in South Africa who enters into an illicit romance with a young, mixed race schoolgirl, the daughter of black domestic servant. When social constraints force Danny to end the romance, he travels to America with the hopes of starting a new life. There he meets Tesseba, a curious and trusting artist who takes him in and marries him to save him from deportation. The two build a life together, but Danny continues to be plagued by a growing sense of loss. Twenty years later, Danny returns to a "new" South Africa in the hopes of saving a family fortune and finding the girl he has never forgotten.
When the rich and famous visit South Africa, their first port of call is often Body Armor, the personal security company offering two types of protection: the big and intimidating muscle men called Gorillas or the lean and hungry former government body guards, referred to as Invisibles. Lemmer is a freelance Invisible. The tiny and beautiful Emma le Roux, a brand consultant from Cape Town, wants to hire him. He needs the money, so he listens to her story. Lemmer’s First General Law is: Don’t get involved. But he has never failed as a body guard and he’s also grown a little too fond of Emma. He uncovers simmering racial and political tensions, greed, corruption, and a network of eco-terrorists. He follows the leads until he finds what he’s after: The people who attacked Emma. Getting to them will be extremely dangerous, and exposing them could have international political implications. If he fails, both he and Emma will end up dead. But Lemmer is sick and tired of being invisible. He goes after them, against all odds.
A frighteningly persuasive, high-tech fable, this novel follows the lives of four narrators living in an alternative futuristic Cape Town, South Africa. Kendra, an art-school dropout, brands herself for a nanotech marketing program; Lerato, an ambitious AIDS baby, plots to defect from her corporate employers; Tendeka, a hot-headed activist, is becoming increasingly rabid; and Toby, a roguish blogger, discovers that the video games he plays for cash are much more than they seem. On a collision course that will rewire their lives, this story crackles with bold and infectious ideas, connecting a ruthless corporate-apartheid government with video games, biotech attack dogs, slippery online identities, a township soccer school, shocking cell phones, addictive branding, and genetically modified art. Taking hedonistic trends in society to their ultimate conclusions, this tale paints anything but a forecasted utopia, satirically undermining the reified idea of progress as society's white knight.
In 1939, as Hitler casts his enormous, cruel shadow across the world, the seeds of apartheid take root in South Africa. There, a boy called Peekay is born. His childhood is marked by humiliation and abandonment, yet he vows to survive and conceives heroic dreams–which are nothing compared to what life actually has in store for him. He embarks on an epic journey through a land of tribal superstition and modern prejudice where he will learn the power of words, the power to transform lives, and the power of one.
After an automobile accident, novelist Paul Sheldon meets his biggest fan. Annie Wilkes is his nurse-and captor. Now, she wants Paul to write his greatest work-just for her. She has a lot of ways to spur him on. One is a needle. Another is an ax. And if they don't work, she can get really nasty...
"Power lines pass over the town of Lochiel, South Africa. When Jason Carter arrived, the power lines of First-World South Africa ran directly through the village in the former black homeland...but the homes had no electricity." In the aftermath of apartheid, few whites live as Peace Corps volunteer Jason Carter did - with a black family in a Third-World community. As he shows us, deprivation and illiteracy are formidable foes adding to the centuries-old legacy of oppression and mistrust that still casts its long shadow across a South African society struggling to redefine itself in the years following Nelson Mandela's presidency.
Conversations with Myself draws on Mandela’s personal archive of never-before-seen materials to offer unique access to the private world of an incomparable world leader. Journals kept on the run during the anti-apartheid struggle of the early 1960s; diaries and draft letters written in Robben Island and other South African prisons during his twenty-seven years of incarceration; notebooks from the postapartheid transition; private recorded conversations; speeches and correspondence written during his presidency—a historic collection of documents archived at the Nelson Mandela Foundation is brought together into a sweeping narrative of great immediacy and stunning power. An intimate journey from Mandela’s first stirrings of political consciousness to his galvanizing role on the world stage, Conversations with Myself illuminates a heroic life forged on the front lines of the struggle for freedom and justice. While other books have recounted Mandela’s life from the vantage of the present, Conversations with Myself allows, for the first time, unhindered insight into the human side of the icon.
Two South African culinary and wine enthusiasts share their life-lone compilation of excellent, well-rounded South African cuisine.
Darkroom focuses on four generations of artists, including those who lived and worked primarily in South Africa during the apartheid era (1948-1994) and a younger generation that has gained wide international prominence since apartheid’s end. The title refers to both literal and metaphorical dark rooms: the actual place where photography and video is made or seen; the artistic isolation created by apartheid; and the psychological and physical hardship of making meaningful work under threat of imprisonment, torture, and exile.
The images appear as they are organized in the galleries: eighty-six photographs, eight photo-based installations, and six video installations. The artists include native South Africans and long-term South African residents from Germany, the United States, and England.
Artists Leo and Diane Dillon won their second consecutive Caldecott Medal for this stunning ABC of African culture. "Another virtuoso performance. . . . Such an astute blend of aesthetics and information is admirable, the child's eye will be rewarded many times over".--Booklist
At her father's funeral, Binti's grandmother utters the words that no one in Malawi wants to hear. Binti's father and her mother before him, dies of AIDS. Binti, her sister, and brother are separated and sent to the home of relatives who can barely tolerate their presence. Ostracized by their extended family, the orphans are treated like the lowest servants. With her brother far away and her sister wallowing in her own sorrow, Binti can hardly contain her rage. She, Binti Phirim, was once a child star of a popular radio program. Now she is scraping to survive. Binti always believed she was special, now she is nothing but a common AIDS orphan.
Binti Phiri is not about to give up. Even as she clings to hope that her former life will be restored, she must face a greater challenge. If she and her brother and sister are to reunited, Binti Phiri will have to look outside herself and find a new way to be special.
"The powerful story of one girl's indomitable spirit after surviving a land mine in war-ravaged southern Africa."
It is the wise old woman of the village who teaches young Sofia about the secrets in the fire. Within the flames hide all things past and all things yet to be. But not even old Muazena can see the horrors the fire holds for Sofia and her family -- not the murderous bandits who drive them from their home, and not the land mine that takes Sofia's legs. In her long journey toward recovery, Sofia must still deal with growing up. Along the way, she discovers friends, and foes, in places she'd never expected. Through it all, Sofia draws on a strength she never knew she had, a fire of her own that's been a secret all along.
Real-life land mine victim Sofia Alface is the inspiration for Henning Mankell's stunning novel which puts a very human face on the suffering in Africa.
This is, of course, just a sampling of books on South Africa and South African life for you to read. Do you want to recommend/share books that take place in South Africa? Or do you want to share other thoughts? Please leave a note in the comments!
Be sure to check back for our next trip in books! :)
Here is what is coming up next:
Culture of the Cherokee Nation
Where we've been and the books that take us there:
The Americas and the Caribbean
Australia, Pacific Islands
Cultures Across the World