The global Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted the need to uplift the voices of black creatives. South Africa has no shortage of local black talent, especially when it comes to writing. PDBY has compiled a short list of books written by local black authors to keep an eye on.

You’re not Broke, You’re Pre-Rich by Mapalo Makhu

This non-fiction book is ideal for millennials who are trying to learn how to pay their debts and stay debt free. It is the perfect book filled with amusing stories about how to manage money as a young professional. It teaches readers how to invest money and explores topics such as budgeting, black tax, emergency funds, financial scams, savings, retirement, and estate planning.

Becoming Men by Malose Langa

Langa tells the story of 32 sturuggling young men from Alexandra, a township in Johannesburg. This book details the objectification of women as well as other everyday tribulations that are faced within townships. It follows the twelve year journey of adolescence into adulthood, with topics such as masculinity and manhood are at the core of the book. Throughout the book, the boys deal with a range of topics such as absent fathers and relationships with mothers, school violence, homophobia, gangs, unemployment, and prison life. The author suggests that there should be an intervention that serves to support and assist them in reducing “high risk behaviours with regard to hegemonic masculinity”. This book is perfect for someone studying gender studies but also for anyone who wants more insight into the struggles boys face when growing into men.

Malibongwe by Sono Molefe

This anthology of poems is a collection of non-fictional poems written by women in ANC camps and around Africa and the world in the late 70s. The book was banned by the apartheid regime in the 80s and has subsequently been republished in South Africa in 2020. In this book, we see what women were dealing with during apartheid, as well as their hopes, and aspirations. It also gives a new stage to female South African writers and gives female writers and artists a place in SA’s liberation. The poems in this book are about “the struggles within the Struggle”. These poems show the radicalism within women, not just then but also today.

The Terrorist Album by Jacob Dlamini

Dlamini discusses apartheid’s afterlife in this non-fiction novel. In the 90s, the government security police collected over 7000 photos of apartheid’s enemies. This was known as the terrorist album and only three copies survived after the end of apartheid. These people depicted in the terrorist album were targeted for surveillance. This book talks about the stories behind the photos, their origins, how they were used, and how these photos changed peoples’ lives. The author includes extensive interviews with the targets depicted in these images. This book tells the story of the height of apartheid, its ultimate failure, and its horrible legacy. The author traces tales of South African insurgents, collaborators, and security police through the tale of a photo album used to target ‘apartheid’s enemies’.

Grasping At Straws by Yvonne Maphosa

This fictional story takes place in the village of Matombo with Lwezi as the main character. Lwezi questions traditions and a culture that seems in favour of men. Girls are excluded from school and are not allowed to get an education. Girls are also groomed for marriage at a very young age. This book centers around the hardships that women face from childhood to adulthood.


Image: Cletus Mulaudi

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