Sumayya Lee was born and raised in Durban, South Africa. She has worked as an Islamic Studies teacher, Montessori Directress and Teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Her debut, The Story of Maha (Kwela, 2007) was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book – Africa and Longlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Award. It is currently on the undergraduate Curriculum at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Her second novel, Maha, Ever After was published by Kwela in 2009. She has also been a judge for the Young Muslim Writers Awards, for the past five years. Sumayya has been a mentor on the Writivism programme and has judged the annual Writivism Short Story Prize She currently serves as the Writivism Mentoring and Residencies coordinator.
Reviewed by Jade Lee
The interweaving of the personal, political and historical in such a way that engages the reader is a difficult feat to pull off convincingly in a novel. The fact that Elleke Boehmer manages this so seamlessly, is thanks in large part to the depth of her characters, especially Ella. Ella is engaging because she is believable in all her idiosyncratic strengths and oddities. She is a child caught between two broken people; an angry, thwarted father, embittered by what he sees as Europe’s moral decay, and a mother in a state of constant anxiety and mourning for Holland, and the dead sister whose husband she ultimately married.
AFRIKULT.’S OVERALL RATING:
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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”