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Tour d'Afrique: Africa A-Z > Crossing west into Namibia (May/June 2014)

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message 1: by Muphyn (last edited Feb 10, 2014 06:42PM) (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments In the spirit of being organised, let's gather some ideas on what we may want to read when we stop over in Namibia in May & June this year.

Here are some ideas to get things started; feel free to suggest other books!

fiction
The Purple Violet of Oshaantu by Neshani Andreas
Morenga by Uwe Timm
Mama Namibia by Mari Serebrov

non-fiction
Never Follow The Wolf: The Autobiography Of A Namibian Freedom Fighter by Helao Shityuwete (not sure how accessible this one is)
The Skeleton Coast: A journey through the Namib Desert by Benedict Allen
Soul of a Lion: One Woman's Quest to Rescue Africa's Wildlife Refugees by Barbara Bennett


message 2: by Lucinda (last edited Feb 11, 2014 08:30AM) (new)

Lucinda | 39 comments Yay, another opportunity to come up with a reading list! As you can tell, I love doing this. BTW - this is an extremely well-organized group :)

Born of the Sun A Namibian Novel by Joseph Diescho

I second the Helao Shityuwete book, though I wonder how difficult it might be to find? Actually I second all the books Muphyn listed :)

Lost White Tribes The End of Privilege and the Last Colonials in Sri Lanka Jamaica Brazil Haiti Namibia and Guadeloupe by Ricardo Orizio. Interesting premise - bizarre constellations of power, geography and race.

Place of Stunted Ironwood Trees A Year in the Life of the Cattle-Herding Himba of Namibia by David P. Crandall. This book seems to be an old-school ethnography, making the 'strange' familiar. Maybe too boring for a group read? On the other hand, this is the tribe that is featured in that 'Babies' documentary - has anyone else seen that? (Babies Movie Trailer)

The Bushman Myth The Making of a Namibian Underclass by Robert Gordon and Stuart Sholto-Douglas. An interesting anthropological study on how the people identified as 'bushmen' were constructed as such based on a sociological idea (i.e. the 'pure primitive'), and the devastating consequences for them because of this. I kind of wonder how much the Crandall book falls into the traps that Gordon and Sholto-Douglas outline.


message 3: by Muphyn (last edited Feb 11, 2014 01:52PM) (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Lucinda wrote: "Yay, another opportunity to come up with a reading list! As you can tell, I love doing this. BTW - this is an extremely well-organized group :)..."

Oh, Lucinda, me too!!! :D Bring on reading lists, I say! :D (And thanks, but you obviously weren't here last year ;) , I was soooo NOT organised, though Marieke did an absolutely awesome job keeping it all together, no mean feat!)

Thanks for your suggestions, great work!


message 4: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Well...um...I tended to be tardy in things! But 2014 will be better! If a new member thinks we are organized, I am inspired to stay organized!Thanks, Lucinda! :D


message 5: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Marieke wrote: "Well...um...I tended to be tardy in things! But 2014 will be better! If a new member thinks we are organized, I am inspired to stay organized!Thanks, Lucinda! :D"

But you still kept it all together!! :D I just drowned and vanished... :( But here we are again, full of energy and renewed organisation skills! ;)


message 6: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 543 comments Muphyn wrote: "In the spirit of being organised, let's gather some ideas on what we may want to read when we stop over in Namibia in May & June this year.

Here are some ideas to get things started; feel free to ..."


Nice list but not many are available to me - especially the Andreas book that I want to read.


message 7: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 543 comments Lucinda wrote: "Yay, another opportunity to come up with a reading list! As you can tell, I love doing this. BTW - this is an extremely well-organized group :)

Born of the Sun A Namibian Novel by J..."


Another nice list!

I have The Lost White Tribes and while I enjoyed the premise of the book and the information - I am not quite sure if there is enough about Namibia make it a book about Namibia. But if others say it is I am fine.


message 8: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 543 comments Here is a couple of other:

The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo by Peter Orner

Talk about stories never told. Larry Kaplanski from Cincinnati is a volunteer teacher in a small, rough all-boys Catholic school in the Namibian desert in 1991, just after independence. He shares a shack with colleagues and is in love with beautiful Mavala Shikongo, who is a kindergarten teacher and veteran guerilla fighter from the antiapartheid "struggle." The weight of the brutal colonial and apartheid past is always there, but the freedom story is never reverential, and the taut vignettes, anguished and sometimes hilarious, are about ordinary people now. The novel is more situation than story, but there are scenes that will stay with you forever: the three illegal refugee children from across the border, who only want school, and then are gone after three days; the drought stories; the fence building (Why? How?); the farce of the Cincinnati community that sends an old broken piano "for the adorable little school somewhere in deepest Africa." Orner, a prizewinning short story writer, has lived in Namibia, and his debut novel brings close those far from the centers of power

Histories of Namibia: Living Through the Liberation Struggle by Colin Leys

When Namibia gained its independence in 1990 after 23 years of war, most of the eleven Namibians whose life histories make up this book were in their mid-thirties. To that point their whole adult lives had been lived in the struggle, more than half of them in exile. Few of them owned anything. None held prominent jobs. Most had endured hardship, hunger, sickness and fear, and witnessed terrible cruelty and suffering. All had lost family members or friends. Yet their outlook was triumphant and optimistic and their stories are full of enthusiasm, energy, determination and purpose. When you read their stories you are not surprised that they have since become well known in their chosen fields. Yet when they told these stories most of them were not well known. They just happened to be people we came to know and like in the course of our work (Brown as a journalist and development consultant, Leys as a social science researcher) and whom we asked if they would tell us their stories. They tell a story of a country as a whole during those years, a story of how a whole generation matured in the struggle, becoming skilled, disciplined, cosmopolitan and tough.


message 9: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Wow. Namibia did not get independence until 1990? I'm not sure I ever realized that.


message 10: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda | 39 comments Marieke wrote: "Wow. Namibia did not get independence until 1990? I'm not sure I ever realized that."

Well, independence from South Africa. It was a German colony until the end of WWI and then was handed over to South Africa I think. I would definitely enjoy reading some non-fiction on this subject because I haven't quite been able to wrap my head around all the dynamics with the Angolan Bush war and the Cold War context (I think they received support from Cuba?).
Anyways, Beverly has added some great books to the potential list! I might be doing some side reads :)


message 11: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 543 comments Lucinda wrote: "Marieke wrote: "Wow. Namibia did not get independence until 1990? I'm not sure I ever realized that."

Well, independence from South Africa. It was a German colony until the end of WWI and then was..."


Maybe this book will be of interest

A History of Namibia: From the Beginning to 1990 by Marion Wallace


message 12: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Thanks for your suggestions, Beverly! I'll set up the poll in the next few days.


message 13: by Sheila (last edited Mar 02, 2014 01:18AM) (new)

Sheila | 82 comments I found there is one fiction publisher in Namibia http://www.wordweaverpublishing.com/b... and on fb at https://www.facebook.com/WordweaverPu...


message 14: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 543 comments Sheila wrote: "I found there is one fiction publisher in Namibia http://www.wordweaverpublishing.com/b... and on fb at https://www.facebook.com/WordweaverPu..."

Thanks for this info


message 15: by Zanna (new)

Zanna (zannastar) | 191 comments You guys are making my to-read list sooo long


message 16: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Haha, I know. This group is really bad for that, Zanna. :D


message 17: by Zanna (new)

Zanna (zannastar) | 191 comments I love it = )


message 18: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Sorry, dropped the ball here. :(

Got the list of 5 random books from the suggestions together now. The poll will get up in a second as well.

The Skeleton Coast: A journey through the Namib Desert
Morenga
Soul of a Lion: One Woman's Quest to Rescue Africa's Wildlife Refugees
Mama Namibia
The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo


message 19: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Don't be sorry! You do a lot here and we're grateful ; )


message 20: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Valerie wrote: "Don't be sorry! You do a lot here and we're grateful ; )"

Aww, thanks, Valerie! :D


message 21: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Hi all!

Looking forward to this read and learning something about Namibia. As luck would have it, I was watching HGTV this morning and House Hunters International was focusing on a couple moving to Namibia. There is some footage of Windhoek and, of course, some houses there.

http://www.hgtv.com/video/finally-tog...


message 22: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Cool, thanks for the link, Valerie!! (And that reminds me, I haven't mentioned who the winner is for our Namibia stopover, oops...)


message 23: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments So the winner for our Namibia stopover as part of the Tour d'Afrique is Mama Namibia ! Happy reading!!


message 24: by Liralen (new)

Liralen | 180 comments Mod
Oooh I want to read that, but neither of my libraries has it :(


message 25: by Valerie (new)

Valerie It's available on kindle, if that helps ;)


message 26: by Liralen (new)

Liralen | 180 comments Mod
Alas, no. I pretty much stick to dead-tree books. I'll have to experience it vicariously through discussion here :)


message 27: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments I think I'm going to be in the same boat, Liralen. Maybe I can get it as an inter-library loan, but probably not. :(


message 28: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Don't forget about side reads if you want to visit Namibia but can't/don't want to read the official selection! :)


message 29: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Huh, of course!!! Thanks, Marieke, I had totally forgotten about that! :D


message 30: by Valerie (new)

Valerie I plan to read "Mama." Anyone else?


message 31: by Laura (new)

Laura | 270 comments Have just started it!


message 32: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Awesome! I'll get it from Kindle and start reading!


message 33: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
I will also get the kindle book; seems the easiest thing to do!


message 34: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments As I just can't get hold of our Namibia book 'Mama Namibia' (seriously, is that a good title or what?! :) ), I've decided to read Morenga instead as a side read.

Is anybody else planning on doing a side read, either in addition to 'Mama Namibia' or instead of it?

I'll set up threads for the official read + side reads shortly.


message 35: by Liralen (new)

Liralen | 180 comments Mod
I might read The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo or (more likely) Soul of a Lion: One Woman's Quest to Rescue Africa's Wildlife Refugees -- they're the two I know I can get. (Incidentally, I think I have The Lion's Eye: Seeing in the Wild -- haven't read either yet, but I keep getting that and Soul of a Lion confused!)


message 36: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Cool!

I'm still tossing up whether I just set up one thread for all the side reads so we can kind of share our experiences and thoughts on the side read books together. Thoughts?


message 37: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 543 comments I am interested in reading Mama Namibiaand then reading The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo- as each features a woman to tell the story so interested to see how the voices/events changes as they take place in different time periods - still fighting for freedom.


message 38: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments I've submitted an inter-library loan request for Mama Namibia but I'm not hopeful.


message 39: by Valerie (new)

Valerie I've started on the book. Finding it a quick read.


message 40: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Great! I'll set up the thread RIGHT NOW or I'll forget again. :)


message 41: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda | 39 comments Muphyn wrote: "As I just can't get hold of our Namibia book 'Mama Namibia' (seriously, is that a good title or what?! :) ), I've decided to read Morenga instead as a side read.

Is anybody else plan..."


Hi - I couldn't get Mama Namibia either, but did get Morenga - it looks like quite a book to tackle, so I would definitely benefit from reading it with someone else... :)


message 42: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
You guys are killing me. I want to read that, too!


message 43: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Haha, we do what we can, Marieke!! ;)

Awesome, Lucinda, company will be great! My copy is on its way now and hopefully it'll arrive sooner rather than later.


message 44: by Ardene (new)

Ardene (booksnpeaches) | 47 comments I am going to give The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo a try since my public library owns a copy.


message 45: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Ardene wrote: "I am going to give The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo a try since my public library owns a copy."

Cool! Feel free to post your thoughts in the side-reads discussion (once I actually manage to set it up! ;) )


message 46: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Just an update, I'm about 50% through "Mama." I find that it gets better and better. I'm enjoying the two perspectives - Harero girl and German doctor - very much.


message 47: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Hey Valerie, feel free to post your thoughts on the discussion thread (https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...), sounds like it's definitely worth a read! (Wishing I had a copy!!)


message 48: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (goodreadscombookslinger1) | 47 comments Mama Namibia e-book is available on Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook pretty cheap, like around 8 bucks. I downloaded it and now I am anxious to get started.


message 49: by Zanna (new)

Zanna (zannastar) | 191 comments I don't think anyone has posted this? African Books Collective have joined up with a Swiss publishing house that produces mostly scholarly books on Namibia

http://www.africanbookscollective.com...


message 50: by Liralen (new)

Liralen | 180 comments Mod
Zanna, that link is brilliant! Thank you!

Now if only my library had more of these books...


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