Starting university is a new stage of life and navigating it can be difficult. Luckily there are many sources out there that can help you through the changes you will face. Perdeby took a look at some novels that every first-year should read, whether it’s to hold a conversation with your new friends or just to better understand the new opinions and terms you will come across in your years at university.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brave New World takes a look at the far future where the ideal society has been set up through years of genetic engineering, brain washing, and recreational sex and drugs. However, this ideal society has its limitations. This novel holds insights pertaining to our present and will leave you questioning the world and its future.
Dub Steps by Andrew Miller
In a deserted Johannesburg, a few survivors of a world where everyone has inexplicably disappeared have to navigate through race, sex, and religious differences to start again. Beautifully written with humour and tension throughout, Dub Steps takes a look at the ordinary and makes it seem exceedingly strange.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Adichie is renowned for her thought provoking novels. Americanah is no different. Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love in a Nigerian secondary school, but soon have to part to opposite ends of the world. Iflemelu departs for America where she discovers something she had previously never needed to worry about – her race. Obinze ends up in London and later becomes a very successful man in Nigeria. Their shared love for their home country brings them closer together years later.
Dog Eat Dog by Niq Mhlongo
University student Dingz traverses university life in 1996, complete with partying, girls and skipping exams. However he struggles with institutional racism at his university and sometimes takes his use of the “race card” to amusing extremes. An incredibly witty novel with a serious look at the struggles faced by black university students, Dog Eat Dog is relevant and relatable to every university student.
The Native Commissioner by Shaun Johnson
Taking place at the end of colonial rule in South Africa, The Native Commissioner looks at the looming apartheid regime and the strain it put on many people’s lives. A young man discovers his father’s letters, and along with them an insight into his father’s thoughts and emotions around the creation of the National Party’s South Africa. The novel provides a slice of South Africa’s history while also showing a relatable story of descent. While depressing, The Native Commissioner will open your eyes to South Africa’s past.
Photo: Ciske Van den Heever.