In which we look through books with sports at their centre that have been written by African writers in recent times.
A few weeks ago, Eliud Kipchoge, a Kenyan athlete, broke the 2-hour barrier for the marathon. On Saturday, South Africa’s rugby team the Springboks line up to meet the English in the Rugby Union World Cup in Japan. These two stories show that sport is a huge part of the African experience.
In recent times, there has been literature that centres sport from fiction to biographies to everything in between. Here are a few publications you want to check out for your sport literature.
- Siya Kolisi: Against All Odds by Jeremy Daniel (Biography)
When the Springboks walk onto the field at the Rugby World Cup final in Tokyo, Japan on Saturday, betting punters will be hoping to cash out on the biggest match in World rugby based on Betway online sports predictions. The team will be captained by Siya Kolisi, the first black man to play this role for the Southern African country. For those who want to know more about the team captain there is a biography written by Jeremy Daniel entitled Siya Kolisi: Against All Odds. Daniel tracks Siya’s journey from running wild on the streets of Zwide, through some crucial games in high school, into the Western Province rugby set-up and his fight to become Springbok captain. He goes deep inside the systems that identify junior talent, the characters who shaped his journey and the moments where he showed who he really was. Siya never forgot where he came from, and ultimately adopted his mother’s other two children after she died when he was in high school.
- Joe Kadenge: The Life of a Football Legend by John Nene. (Biography)
Joe Kadenge, one of Kenya’s most famous footballers, won the Kenyan Premier League multiple times and at one point managed the East African country’s national team the Harambee Stars. He became famous because radio announcers commentating on football matches would describe him dribbling around defenders with the statement, “Kadenge na mpira, Kadenge na mpira! (Kadenge with the ball, Kadenge with the ball). A biography of the famous footballer who passed on earlier this year, was written by John Nene, a Kenyan journalist working for the BBC World Service as a sports producer based at their East Africa Bureau office in Nairobi.
- Don’t Die On Wednesday by Michael Afenfia (Novel)
Sports fiction is not a big thing on the continent but that doesn’t mean that it is inexistent. A good example is Michael Afenfia’s Paressia-published Don’t Die on Wednesday where a rising football star and Tottenham FC top striker Bubarayer Dabowei’s career is torpedoed by a freak accident at a game against a crack Manchester United squad. Unable to play professional football, he is torn between his supermodel South African Wife, Nikiwe Dlomo, and a longing to return to Nigeria. Their fraught return plays out against a backdrop of infidelity and betrayal and his nurturing of the talented but troublesome Keme ‘D’aziba.
Get a copy on Amazon.
- Super Eagles of Nigeria: Pride of Africa by Cyril Chukwudozie. (Nonfiction)
In 2018, Motswana journalist Bongani Malunga wrote the book Why An African Team May Never Win The World Cup in reference to the FIFA World Cup. In it, he explains why the odds are not in favour of a football team from the continent getting one of the most coveted trophies in world sport. Cyril Chukwudozie Nwokeji also takes a gander at the issue analysing The Super Eagles the national team in his native country, Nigeria. Considering the huge abundance of talent and the gradual evolution/revolution taking place since 1976 a win may still be a pipe dream unless the soccer administration is got right. Your odds on Betway might be lengthened for Qatar 2023 at this rate.
- Victory Despite Blindness Henry Wanyoike biography by Joseph Ngunjiri (Biography)
Henry Wanyoike: Victory Despite Blindness is a story about Henry Wanyoke, a blind man who despite `this was hardworking. It comes out that blindness is not absolute or final since he was able to see through his touch because he had a vision. This vision had propelled him to the top of the world as a Paralympian and marathon runner. His achievements in the face of insurmountable odds serve as an inspiration to many. The book was written by Kenyan journalist Joseph Ngunjiri.