Monday

48 books to read before you visit South Africa


Nothing in this world is ever black and white. Francis Bacon said knowledge is power, remember? The more you educate yourself the better life gets. You can’t have an opinion on something without gathering enough information to understand what is going on around you. When I visit a place I also like to read about it. Not only the papers and facts but also fiction, prose, cookbooks, I read and browse just about everything to get the bigger picture. 

If I mix this information with those I get from talking to as many people in the country as possible I feel content that I can build an opinion and can participate in a discussion. Empty words thrown into thin air just to say something? Not good.

The other day as I was at Daunton in London (you know this pretty Edwardian book store on Marylebone High Street) I realised I have an awful lot of books about South Africa. There wasn’t a single book about South Africa in their travel section that I hadn’t on my bookshelf. 

After I got over my nerdy moment, I put together a very thorough reading list for South Africa. These books saved me from being ignorant on my travels to South Africa. I understand that not everyone who plans a two week trip to South Africa will read all of these books before heading out there. But you might get inspired. (No, neither Daunton Books, South Africa, London, nor Marylebone paid me for writing this. I simply love books and bookstores).

All books are tried and tested. Word of warning: If you read all of these and travel to South Africa you will lose your heart to this place forever.


Title
Author
1
Troublemakers
Margaret Renn, Anton Harber
2
Begging to be Black
Antjie Kroog
3
Come Sunday
Isla Morley
4
Panorama
Pieter Dyrk Uys
5
The Only Black at a Dinner Party
Eric Miyeni
6
Before Mandela was Mandela
Eric Miyeni
7
Philida
André Brink
8
A Dry White Season
André Brink
9
Praying Mantis
André Brink
10
Karoo Boy
Troy Blacklaws
11
A City Imagined
Stephen Watson
12
The Madonna of Excelsior
Zakes Mda
13
Into Africa
Martin Dugard
14
The Lost World of the Kalahari
Van der Post
15
South African Fact Book
Denise Slabbert, Pat Hopkins, Jabulile Bongiwe Ngwenya
16
In the Heart of the Country
J.M. Coetzee
17
Disgrace
J.M. Coetzee
18
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Gavin Bell
19
On the Other Side of Shame
Joanne Jowell
20
Fiela's Child
Dalene Matthee
21
Khayelitsha
Steven Otter
22
The State of Africa
Martin Meredith
23
Down 2nd Avenue
Es'kia Mphahlele
24
Return to Paradise
Breyten Breytenbach
25
From Aardvark to Zebra. Secrets of African Wildlife
Peter Joyce
26
Africa the legends live on
Jan Roderigues
27
The Day I Died
Thembelani Ngenelwa
28
Childhood
Adrian Hadland
29
Long Way Down
Ewan McGregor, Charley Boorman
30
Sea Mountain, Fire City
Mike Nicol
31
South Africa. A travellers literary companion
Balseiro and Hecht
32
Modern South African Stories
Stephen Gray (edited by)
33
My Son's Story
Nadine Gordimer
34
Beethoven was one-sixteenth black
Nadine Gordimer
35
From Jo'burg to Jozi
Edited by Heidi Holland and Adam Roberts
36
Dead before Dying
Deon Meyer
37
Blood Safari
Deon Meyer
38
Dark Star Safari
Paul Theroux
39
Gem Squash Tokoloshe
Rachel Zadok
40
The Wilderness Family
Kobie Kruger
41
The Covenant
James A Michener
42
Postcards from Soveto
Mokone Molete
43
Cape Town Stories
Madeleine Barnard
44
The Healing Land
Rupert Isaacson
45
Red Dust
Gillian Slovo
46
Karoo Kitchen
Sydda Essop
47
In the words of Nelson Mandela
A little pocketbook
48
Long Walk to Freedom
Nelson Mandela

Before my next trip to South Africa I am going to read Nadine Gordimer, July's People. Alan Paton, Cry the beloved country. Dalene Matthee, Dreamforest. Deon Meyer, Cobra. These four books are patiently waiting on my bookshelf and wait for their time to come and my next vacation in South Africa.

What is your favourite book about South Africa? Let us swap experiences. So very much looking forward to hear from you.

From Berlin with love

2 comments:

  1. So eine Auflistung habe ich schon lange gesucht und nun endlich gefunden - vielen, vielen Dank für die 48 Buchtipps! Da ich seit einigen Jahren fast jedes Buch (besonders Romane) über Südafrika bzw. das südliche Afrika, das mir in die Hände fällt, lese, habe ich durchaus schon einige Bücher gelesen, dennoch sind in der Liste einige neue Bücher für mich dabei.

    Meine Lieblings-südafrika-bücher sind "Boyhood", "Youth" und "Summertime" von J.M. Coetzee, "You can't get lost in Cape Town" und "David's Story" von Zoe Wicomb, "Karoo Ramblings" von David Biggs, "Cry the beloved country" von Alan Paton sowie sämtliche Bücher von Troy Blacklaws und Damon Galgut.

    Ansonsten mochte ich auch Alexander McCall Smiths "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" (Botswana) und sämtliche Werke von Alexandra Fuller und Peter Godwin (beide Simbabwe) sehr.

    Viele Grüße aus Potsdam :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Antique Flower, freut mich absolut, danke fuer das Lob. Alexander McCall Smiths Buecher finde ich auch genial. From Berlin with love Dorothée

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Greetings stranger. I always try to be myself and to be a tourist as often as I can. I would love to get in contact with lots of hard travelling tourists who love to be out and about as much as I do. I am looking forward to all your comments. Thanks so much in advance.