Book Review: You Are Not A Country, Africa

9259389Author: Pius Adesami/Year of publication: 2011/Where to buy: Exclusive Books, Kalahari, Loot, Take a lot/Approximate Price: R135/Pages: 246/Publishers: Penguin/Awards: Winner of the Penguin prize of African Writing

Quote: "Many have encountered questions that make you engage in the politics of identity such as, "Where are you from?" or "How do you pronounce your name?" You are not a country Africa articulates and politicizes everyday living while embracing the different identities of Africa and Africans...."

The 21st century is characterised by the disintegration of the geographical boundaries that initially constrained people and culture. Investors are trading on the New York Stock Exchange in the comfort of their homes in Eastern Cape, South Africa. There are Africans who are more passionate about the English Premier League than the English themselves. Twitter has enabled a Syrian activist to connect with a Zimbabwean strategist. So, what does it mean to be African these days? What does Africa mean to you? Pius Adesami's latest creative non-fiction flirts with such questions.

You are not a country Africa is Adesami's autobiography of ideas. It is a collection of essays which highlights the complexities of Africa and of being African. Born in Nigeria and currently working in Canada as a professor of English, Adesami writes of his physical, emotional and intellectual movements in Africa and in Euro-America as an African. His book helps one understand African culture and everyday history as well as the manifestations of modern African identities.



Book Review: Dark Continent My Black Arse

picQuote: "It is a refreshing and reasonable cause for excitement to have a travel book by a black African author but his obsession with the female body gets a little stale after a few chapters. There are only so many ways you can say a woman has a gorgeous behind....."

It was a hot Sunday afternoon and I was busy at work in Oshakati, a semi-urban town in Northern Namibia, when my colleague whispered to me, "You spend too much time on the road, moving around. How do you manage as a woman all alone? Do you have a personal journal?"

Now, at that time I was desperate for a good book by an African author which was proving to be very difficult to find in Oshakati. My colleague's "concerns" reminded me of the book "Dark Continent my black Arse". Though published in 2007, I had yet to read it and so two days later whilst in Windhoek I finally picked up a copy albeit with some effort.

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