Pumla GqolaI recently mentioned that the Associate Professor of African Literary and Gender studies at the University of the Witwatersrand Pumla Dineo Gqola is chair of the new Etisalat prize for African writing. This was just before she unleashed her latest work “A renegade called Simphiwe.” This book is a series of essays focusing on Simphiwe Dana a South African singer who doesn’t just sing. Apart from being dubbed the next Miriam Makeba (apparently it happens a lot in South Africa, you are a hot young singer you are the next Miriam Makeba if you are any good) she also does many awesome things like being vocal on topical issues in social media including political issues in South Africa and the like. Here is a little description of the book from the publishers MFBooks Joburg/Jacana;

There is an idealised model of (Black) femininity in post-apartheid South Africa. On the surface, she embodies the transformational promise of a new South Africa: a radical departure from apartheid stereotypes, she is an articulate, independent, ambitious woman with increasing control over her public and financial life. However, closer analysis of this model femininity, “the new South African woman”, reveals much about the workings of white supremacist heteropatriachal capitalist control and policing of women in contemporary South Africa. Building on the illustration and analysis of this woman, the paper will make an argument for urgent need to amplify the place of renegades in post-apartheid South Africa, using a few examples, including those discussed in this book – A Renegade Called Simiphiwe.”

Apart from this book she has also written What is slavery to me? Postcolonial/Slave memory in post-apartheid South Africa (Wits Press, 2010).

It looks like Nairobi will be lucky as the esteemed professor will be launching this book next Friday September 13th at 10:30am. A lucky Friday the 13th for Nairobi that one. The writer will be doing the launch at the British Institute in Eastern Africa, Laikipia Road, Kileleshwa, Nairobi. For more information and to RSVP please contact seminars@biea.ac.uk or Sinoxolo Neo Musangi at neo.musangi@biea.ac.uk