Highlife singer/atilogwu dancer Arinze Ejiofor, whose promising career was cut short when he perished in an auto accident in 1988. His son, Chiwetel, has gone on to a distinguished career as an actor.
This year is looking good for African writing. We should expect new discoveries and fresh voices to emerge from the continent as there are still stories yet to be told whilst those who have already proven themselves will likely wax stronger. This is who we expect to rock:
Noviolet Bulawayo (Zimbabwe)
We Need New Names is the lovely title of the forthcoming debut novel by Noviolet Bulawayo (pen name of Elizabeth Tshele). Noviolet won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2011 for her story Hitting Budapest.
According to Libyan author Hisham Matar, who was one of the Caine Prize Judges: “The language of Hitting Budapest crackles. Here we encounter Darling, Bastard, Chipo, Godknows, Stina and Sbho, a gang reminiscent of Clockwork Orange. But these are children, poor and violated and hungry. This is a story with moral power and weight, it has the artistry to refrain from moral commentary. NoViolet Bulawayo is a writer who takes delight in language. Noviolet’s works are intensely lyrical and moving, while engaging with real social issues. She is a 2012-2014 Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. We Need New Names comes out in May.
Teju Cole (Nigeria)
Writer, art historian, street photographer, Teju Cole (his real name is Obayemi Babajide Adetokunbo Onafuwa) was born in the United States to Nigerian parents, raised in Nigeria, and moved back to the US at the age of 17. His first book, a novella, Everyday is for the Thief, was published in Nigeria in 2007 by Cassava Republic. Cole has earned flattering comparisons to literary heavyweights like JM Coetzee, WG Sebald and Henry James for his second book, Open City (Faber 2011), a novel described as “finely written” and “free-flowing form with no plot, narrated by a scholarly solitary walker”.
Teju Cole is also well known for the compact stories he crafts on his Twitter account called Small Fates. These Tweet-sized narratives are based on odd stories drawn from small news items in newspapers. Last year Cole was included in the panel of judges for the inaugural twitter fiction festival “a virtual storytelling celebration” featuring “creative experiments in storytelling from authors around the world”. I have a hunch that he will spring up surprises in 2013 and delve into greater adventures in the world of arts.
Lauren Beukes (South Africa)
Shining Girls is a novel much raved about from Lauren Beukes, one of the finest genre writers in the continent. Her first novel was Moxyland but her major break came with Zoo City, a hardboiled thriller set in a re-imagined Johannesburg. Zoo City won the 2011 Arthur C Clarke award, the 2010 Kitschies Red Tentacle for best novel and was short-listed for several other prizes and the film rights have been sold.
In 2011, HarperCollins brokered a six-figure sum deal at the Frankfurt Book fair for Shining Girls and plans to publish it in May this year. In Shining Girls, The Time Traveler’s Wife meets The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in this story of a time-traveling serial killer who is impossible to trace, until one of his victims survives.
Taiye Selasi (Ghana)
Selasi met Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison at Oxford in 2005. She was introduced by Morrison’s niece, the producer of a play she had written as a graduate student. Morrison invited Selasi to her home when they returned to the States. Morrison subsequently encouraged Selasie to pen her first story The Sex Lives of African Girls which was published in Granta magazine in 2011 in its feminism issue and appeared in Best American Short Stories 2012.
In 2010 Ann Godoff at Penguin Press bought Selasi’s unfinished novel and Ghana Must Go is now set to be published in 15 countries in 2013. The novel opens with a scene of a father who is about to die and traces the saga of his disintegrating family back to Africa. Ghana Must Go is widely tipped as one of the most eagerly anticipated books of the year.
Victor Ehikhamenor (Nigeria)
Excuse me, Ehikhamenor’s newly released collection of essays, is a book of wit and humour. What began as a weekly column of the same title, while he served as Nigeria’s NEXT Newspaper’s first creative director, evolved into a book of satirical proportions. These funny pieces draw heavily on the experiences of everyday life in Nigeria as well as from the lives of Nigerians abroad.
Victor graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland, USA and has won awards for his works including the 2008 Leon Forest Scholar Fiction Award and a Breadloaf Scholarship.
Alain Mabanckou (Congo)
Franco-Congolese novelist Alain Mabanckou is among the best known and most successful writers in the French language and one of the best known African writers in France. Sometimes referred to as Africa’s Samuel Beckett, Mabanckou was selected by Vanity Fair as one of the continent’s greatest living writers.
His works include Black Bazaar, Memoirs of a Porcupine, African Psycho and Broken Glass and his style has been described as colloquial and highly entertaining. He is also prolific, Mabanckou’s latest offering Tomorrow I Will be Twenty Years Old is set to be published in May this year. Drawn from his own childhood experiences the book recounts the story of ten year old Michel living in Pointe Noire, Congo in the 1970s.
Sarah Lotz (South Africa)
Lotz is an award-winning author and scriptwriter who has published three novels Tooth and Nailed, Exhibit A and Pompidou Posse. Sarah writes urban horror novels under the name SL Grey with author Louis Greenberg and a Young Adult zombie series with her daughter, Savannah, under the name Lily Herne. Lotz recently accepted a pre-emptive six-figure offer from UK publishers Hodder and Stoughton for her novel The Three and another book.
Igoni Barrett (Nigeria)
Igoni Barrett, one of the finest writers around, was the winner of the BBC World Service short story competition for 2005. His first book, a collection of short stories entitled From Caves of Rotten Teeth, was first published in 2005 and re-issued in 2008. Known for the raw energy of his prose and characters that feel alive on the page, Barrett’s new collection of stories Love Is Power, Or Something Like That is due to be published in the UK, US and Nigeria in June. I encourage you to put it on your list of must-reads for 2013.
Mehul Gohil (Kenya)
Mehul Gohil is a writer born and living in Nairobi, Kenya. He won the Kenya I Live In short story competition organised in 2010 by Kwani Trust for his short story Farah Aideed Goes To Gulf War. He has previously been published in Kwani 06. Those hungry for his first book hopefully won’t have to wait long.
Rachel Zadok (South Africa)
In 2005 Rachel was nominated for the Whitbread First Novel Award for her novel Gem Squash Tokoloshe, which was also a finalist in the UK TV presenters’ Richard and Judy How to Get Published competition. The book is a story of the dissolution of a marriage seen through the eyes of an innocent child in rural South Africa. Gem Squash Tokoloshe was widely seen as marking the arrival of a young writer to be reckoned with.
This year Rachel’s second book Sister Sister (Kwela Books) is being released in South Africa in April. It is the story of the gregarious bright Thuli and her stuttering, introverted twin Sindi. In childhood they are inseparable outcasts but the arrival of an uncle they never knew they had sets into motion a course of events that will destroy their relationship and, eventually, their lives. You might want to read this one with the lights on if I know anything about Rachel’s ability to write stories that crawl along your spine.
Nnedi Okorafor (Nigeria)
Okorafor is the author of Who Fears Death, The Shadow Speaker and Zahrah the Windseeker and has won many awards for her works. Her collection of short stories KabuKabu, will officially be released October 2013.
Beatrice Lamwaka (Uganda)
Short-listed for the Caine prize in 2011 for her story Butterfly Dreams, Lamwaka is the General Secretary of the Uganda Women Writers Association. She was a finalist for the 2009 SA PEN/Studzinski Literary Award and was a fellow of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation/African Institute of South Africa Young Scholars programme that year. Lamwaka is currently working on her first novel and a compilation of her short stories.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
Celebrated novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie returns with a new novel Americanah. The title comes from the word Nigerians use for those who have left the country for the US and become “Americanised” – a borderline insult. With three books to her name and a clutch of literary prizes, Chimamanda is one of the most beloved and critically lauded writers working today. Americanah comes out in May.
It’s the month of love!
We’ve got 54 unique ways to show your love–one for each country within Africa.
And if you want to learn how to say “I love you” in 54 African languages, start practicing with our language list!
Algeria: Read a love poem written in French, one of the languages of Algeria
Angola: Give a back massage with palm oil, sourced in Angola
Benin: Listen to a bedtime story sung by Angelique Kidjo from Benin, a Grammy-Award winner
Botswana: Buy a piece of jewelry—maybe a ring?—with diamonds mined in Botswana
Burkina Faso: Serve a gluten-free sorghum beer, brewed in Burkina Faso
Burundi: Bake heart shaped cookies with sugar exported from Burundi
Cameroon: Make a ceramic heart-shaped dish, with the clay found in the highlands in Cameroon
Cape Verde: Drink Portuguese-style wine, made in the vineyards of Cape Verde
Central African Republic: Make a rich, vanilla-flavored tapioca pudding for dessert, made from cassava imported from Central African Republic
Chad: Listen to a love ballad played on a kinde, a harp from Chad
Comoros: Delight in a triple-thick vanilla milkshake, flavored with natural vanilla imported from the Comoros
Congo-Brazzaville: Learn to paint at the Poto Poto School of Painters in Brazzaville, Congo
Congo-Kinshasa: Watch the film When We Were Kings, about Mohammad Ali’s famous match against George Foreman in Kinshasa, known at the time as the famed “Rumble in the Jungle”
Cote d’Ivoire: Buy a gold mask to hang on the wall, from extensive collections crafted in Cote d’Ivoire
Djibouti: Get a hand-woven wool rug from Djibouti to keep your feet warm
Egypt: Purchase tickets to the Cairo International Film Festival
Equatorial Guinea: Drink a cup of osang tea, grown organically in Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea: Read My Father’s Daughter by Hannah Pool, a heartwarming book about an Eritrean girl adopted by a British family
Ethiopia: Wake up to the smell of coffee, made with beans sourced from Ethiopia
Gabon: Obtain a stone sculpture of a woman’s face, items for which Gabon’s artisans are famous
Gambia: Take a bird watching trip for two around MacCarthy Island, an ornithologically rich part of The Gambia.
Ghana: Serve authentic Ghanaian dark chocolate, the birthplace of the cocoa bean
Guinea: Take a stroll down the streets of Conakry at sunset
Guinea-Bissau: Pound away on a dried calabash, or gourd, which is used to make music in Guinea-Bissau
Kenya: Try purple tea sourced from Kenya, a country considered by connoisseurs to be among the best tea producers in the world
Lesotho: Travel to the Oxbow, one of the only places in Africa to go skiing
Liberia: Sing the lyrics to Michael Jackson’s Liberian Girl: “You know that you came and you changed my world”
Libya: Enjoy bazeen, an unsweetened cake made with barley flour and usually served with tomatoes and eggs
Madagascar: Purchase a blue sapphire gem, extracted from the sapphire mines of Madagascar
Malawi: Find a nyau mask, still used by the Chewa people for initiations and important events
Mali: Plan a romantic dinner with a desert view in Timbuktu
Mauritania: Hand make soft bed linens from the ultra soft tie-dyed cotton fabric from free-trade cooperatives in Mauritania
Mauritius: Have your hotel arrange a white linen and china dinner for two on the beach at sunset
Morocco: Buy a token of love in one of Morocco’s many souks
Mozambique: Experiment with a marimba, a type of xylophone native to the country
Namibia: Express your inner child by sandboarding down the sand dunes
Niger: Wrap yourself and your lover with a traditional hand-woven wedding blanket in colorful patterns
Nigeria: Listen to the soulful rhythm of Zombie, one of Fela Kuti’s most acclaimed albums
Rwanda: Perform the Intore, the most famous, traditional Rwandan dance for your loved one in private
Sao Tome and Principe: Savor Corallo Chocolate, voted by some to be amongst the world’s best organic chocolate
Senegal: Give your valentine a sand painting, made from Senegalese volcanic sand, beach sand, and dune sand
Seychelles: Visit the white, sandy beaches on the island of Mahe, while indulging in the French-African creole culture
Sierra Leone: Drink Star Beer, produced by the national brewer, Sierra Leone Breweries
Somalia: Read Crossbones by Nuruddin Farrah, a novel about a family returning to Somalia
South Africa: Uncork a rich, red Merlot from the Cape winelands, and give your lover a bouquet of protea flowers, the national flower of South Africa
Sudan: Read the poem The Trees Have Passed, by formerly imprisoned poet Mahjoub Sharif
South Sudan: Take a rafting expedition along the White Nile river and get a glimpse of wildlife along the untraveled section of the Nile
Swaziland: Light your bedroom with the gentle and romantic glow from Swazi candles
Tanzania: Indulge in a konyagi, an indigenous, gin-like beverage
Togo: Hang a zota painting (which is made with scorched wood and smoke) made by Paul Ahyi, the designer of Togo’s flag
Tunisia: Visit a hammam, a traditional Tunisian public steam bath
Uganda: Take a romantic safari in one of Uganda’s many safari parks
Zambia: Wrap your gift in a tonga basket, which are woven by Tonga women, renowned for their weaving abilities
Zimbabwe: Propose to your loved one at Victoria Falls with a platinum engagement ring, with platinum exported from Zimbabwe.
Congratulations galore are pouring in for NY Giants Osi Umenyiora and former Miss Universe Leila Lopes, who tweeted their engagement from Europe. The newly engaged couple spent this week in Europe with friends and family (his brother Okwi and his wife) visiting such sights as Rome, Paris, Monte Carlo and posted photos from Twitter and instagram. The couple are both African. He’s Nigerian and she’s Angolan!
A gynecologist who was recently fired for secretly filming his female patients was found dead in his Maryland home after committing suicide.
Dr Nikita Levy, who worked at Johns Hopkins Hospital for two decades up until last week, is suspected of covertly taking pictures and shooting videos of his exposed patients.
Levy was found dead by police who arrived at his Towson home at 7am on Monday morning in a suspected suicide. They would not reveal his cause of death except to say that neither a gun or knife was used.
The 54-year-old doctor had not been charged with any crime, but his lawyer confirmed that he was representing Levy at the time of his death.
Levy had worked as a doctor at the prestigious school’s East Baltimore Medical Center in their gynecology and obstetrics department.
His trove of patients received a letter last week notifying them that he would no longer be working at the practice, but many are infuriated by the fact that a key piece of information was left out.
The letter did not mention anything about the allegations against him, leaving out the fact that a co-worker discovered that the doctor was using personal recording devices to capture his patients in their most vulnerable moments.
Source: Mailonline, UK
Eko Hotel, Victoria Island: the scene of so many expensive misdemeanours in the past, did its best not to disappoint. Kim Kardashian (pictured sailing into the salubrious Murtala Muhammed International Airport) was billed to “co-host” an event with R’n’B crooner Darey Art-Alade in honour of “Love..Like a Movie”. In other words, it was a “Vals” thing. Lagos being familiar to the metallurgy of snobbery, this involved platinum ticket holders being invited to an exclusive pre-dinner event with her K-ness. Pseudo-ogas lower down the corporate food chain only got to see the show.
I was just over a thousand miles away from the action in Freetown, watching my Twitter timeline cascade with commentary as the evening unfolded. Tweets purred with pleasure at the acrobatics segment, and at the godly qualities of Waje’s voice. There was a sense that in production values and packaging, Lagos had outblinged itself.
And then Ms Kardashian appeared, said, “hey Naija” and vamoosed. The rumour was that she’d been paid 500,000 Benjamins for the honour of mixing with the petro-class. She arrived on Saturday evening (on Air France), and left within twenty-four hours (someone Instagrammed her back at MMIA). Prole class tickets were apparently N100,000 ($640), although quite a few got in gratis on the guest list.
The Lagos elite blows money at puffery, while most of Nigeria suffers. It’s the same as it ever was. I recall Carlos Moore railing against the Gowon era on his trip to Nigeria a couple of years ago – how Lagosians were partying while bodies were lying unburied in the street. Gowon was famous at the time for saying that the problem in Nigeria was not money, but how to spend it.
Reflecting a little on the unfolding disappointment in Lagos, I couldn’t help but think that the narrow slice of KK the audience were granted reflects a cargo cult/import economy/colo-mentality, that dresses its shame in dandified arrogance. Last year, Hugh Masekela played the Motor Boat club. I was lucky to be there (I think I paid 15,000 naira for the privilege). People chatted noisily throughout. The great jazzman could hardly hide his disgust.
There’s something Dubai-esque about the children of the Islands. Pampered lives told in British public school brogues. Bubbles of air-conditioned comfort, which we might think of these days as “Lekki blindness”. Fela is long since dead, but his words rework themselves in the present with ease.
As the disgruntled tweets flowed out on my timeline, I thought of Special K, comfy in her jimjams, the plane rising gradually above the Atlantic, safe from all Lagos harm, smiling to herself that she’d actually 419’d the 419ers. And I went to bed with one final thought: oil turns all who touch it completely insane.
Many wish he’d Mandela’s wisdom. Get well soon Sir.