By: Simunye Sehlako
Africa’s stories are well documented in books written by some of the most elite writers in not just Africa but globally. Writers who have captured our hearts with their amazing works.
Over the past couple of years, we have seen a significant rise of young African authors emerging with the finest book offerings such as, Jackie Phamotse, Upile Chisala and the well-known comedian; Trevor Noah. However, African literature still has a long way to go within the global market. This is not because of the lack of talent or lack of great writers, which we do have in abundance but rather the lack of exposure and support from our own.
As a young and upcoming writer, you are only as good as the numbers behind you, in this case, your readers. In the digital age that we live in, anything is possible. And it is best to manipulate that space and use it to garner those much-needed numbers. Not every writer goes the usual route and has the backing from a publishing house, instead they opt for self-publishing which could be a roll of the dice if the small details are not properly taken care of. It is important to familiarize yourself with the business side of your craft. Research and learn.
I personally could not be happier for the African authors who have made a breakthrough into history’s classroom lessons. Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart’ being one of the few books at the forefront. Although history’s curriculum content is predominantly European history with a very small percentage of it focuses on our continent. African home languages are some of the only subjects that use books written by Africans telling African stories, books like ‘Maru’ by Bessie Head and ‘Mother to Mother’ by Sindiwe Magona. In these reads, there is a rich documentation of African issues of liberation, colonialism, nationalism, and tradition.
As a book lover myself, I am optimistic and proud of where African literature is headed. One book at a time, the world will know our names and our stories will be told.