Their books live on with you long after you’ve put them down. With their truly incredibly personal experiences and thought provoking opinions on social issues, these authors dared to tell their story and we loved them.
Here are four memoirs by local authors that will move you.
1. You have to be gay to know God by Siya Khumalo
Hilarious, insightful and cheeky. Siya Khumalo grew up in a Durban township where one sermon could whip up a lynch mob against those considered different. Drawing on personal experience -- his childhood, life in the army, attending church, and competing in pageants -- Khumalo explores being LGBTQI+ in South Africa today. In You Have to Be Gay to Know God, he takes us on a daring journey, exposing the interrelatedness of religion, politics and sex as the expectations of African cultures mingle with greed and colonial religion.
2. Colour me Yellow
Colour Me Yellow is award-winning journalist Thuli Nhlapo’s memoir. Just by reading the synopsis and the first few pages you establish three things: Thuli’s mother wishes she was never born, she’s the black sheep of the family and she suffers a tremendous amount of physical, emotional and verbal abuse as a result. But Thuli never allows herself to wallow in self-pity. This book explores African tradition family dynamics and healing.
Becoming Him, A Trans Memoir of Triumph by Landa Mabenge
3. As a young child, he’d known the way he looked on the outside didn’t match how he felt inside. He didn’t like the dresses with lace frills that he was made to wear and longed to play with toy soldiers and trucks instead of dolls. When puberty hit, his changing body felt even more foreign. In Becoming Him, A Trans Memoir of Triumph, Landa Mabenge tells his lengthy and intricate process of transitioning in 2009.
4. Always Another Country By Sisonke Msimang
The daughter of South African freedom fighters, Sisonke Msimang was born in exile and tells her story as a young woman living between Africa and America.
In the frank, fierce and insightful, she reflects candidly on the abuse she suffered as a child, the naive, heady euphoria of returning at last to her parents’ homeland—and her disillusionment with present-day South Africa and its new elites.