I am reminded of six years ago. I had just flown into Johannesburg from Kampala. I was in Johannesburg to do a screen test for a TV series about Botswana. Before the screen test was over I had already landed one of the lead roles. Of course I was elated, mostly because even though I was enjoying an award-winning acting career on-Broadway and off-Broadway in New York City, I still had the firm desire to do something at home. A week later I was in Gaborone, script in hand, and ready to film. Then an email from the series producers popped up on my phone saying that after “much careful thought and consideration” I had been dropped from the production for “not looking African enough.” The news was more infuriating than disappointing. I found myself wishing they had told me that I had been dropped because I had not been a good enough actor during the screen tests, or that I was asking for too much money. But to say that I did not fulfil some British self-styled Africanist director’s zoological notion of what an African looks like was to abuse even my ancestors. I tell you, Upright African, you and I must write and perform many-many stories about the Africa we know where my perfect teeth are not remarkable.
For those who have not heard the name- Brian Chikwava – is the author of Harare North. His début novel Harare North, published in 2010, recounts the experience of Zimbabwean migrants squatting in the decrepit quarters of Brixton. Brian has developed a narrative style uniquely his own, his use of language is elegantly provincial, reflective of the sub cultural disposition of his characters. His short story “Seventh Street Alchemy” was awarded the 2004 Caine Prize for African Writing. Afrikult. caught up with Brian in 2015 to chat about his work… Continue reading “Interview with Brian Chikwava on his novel ‘Harare North’”
Once you open the first page, you’re transported to the heart of the Mpondomise region, camping around a blazing fire, wrapped in ochre blankets and enraptured by the storytelling performance. And in this performance, Jordan tells a tragic-fatalistic story about Zwelinzima, a missionary educated Xhosa prince, who reluctantly leaves university to take his rightful place as Chief of the Mpondomise. His inauguration fuels a clash of cultures and moralistic values between Mpondomise customs and beliefs against European civilisation and Christianity. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Wrath of the Ancestors | A.C Jordan”