Jahazi Press has acquired the East African rights to Mukoma Wa Ngugi’s Unbury Our Dead with Song in a statement sent out on September 2, 2021.

In 2020, a new publishing outfit called Jahazi Press led by Prestige Books’ Ahmed Aidarus was unveiled in Kenya. The company has since acquired the rights to Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor’s The Dragonfly Sea and Peter Kimani’s Dance of The Jakaranda. They also recently published J.E. Sibi-Okumu Collected Plays 2004-2014 by playwright John Sibi-Okumu which was launched at the Nyrobi Book Fest.

The newest title to join the rapidly growing stable of the publisher is Mukoma Wa Ngugi’s latest novel We Sing the Tizita to Unbury Our Dead. The novel is about four talented Ethiopian musicians – The Diva, The Corporal, the Taliban Man and Miriam, who are competing to see who can sing the best Tizita (popularly referred to as Ethiopian blues). Taking place in an illegal boxing hall in Nairobi, Kenya, the competition is covered by a US educated Kenyan journalist, John Thandi Manfredi, who writes for a popular tabloid, The National Inquisitor. He follows the musicians back to Ethiopia in order to learn more about the Tizita and their lives. As he learns more about the Tizita and the multiple meanings of beauty, he uncovers that behind each of the musicians, there are layered lives and secrets. Ultimately, the novel is a love letter to African music, beauty and imagination.

Mukoma Wa Ngugi, said on the announcement;

“From my vantage point as a scholar of African literature and writer, I see the future of African writing lying in the hands of independent publishers such as Cassava, Paivapo and Jahazi Presses. Where educational publishing has stunted the African literary eco-system, independent publishers are publishing risky, adventurous and innovative works.

I am therefore very excited that Unbury Our Dead with Song, a novel I consider my love letter to African writing and aesthetics is being published by Jahazi. And equally happy, as a writer previously primarily published in the West that Unbury our Dead with Song has as its first homes Nigeria and Kenya. It is good to be home.”

The book is available in the market at Prestige Bookshop branches at Mama Ngina Street in the Central Business District and at the Lavington Mall and other outlets.

The full statement can be found below:

Press Release

Jahazi Press acquires Mukoma Wa Ngugi novel “Unbury Our Dead with Song

Nairobi, September 2, 2021.

Mukoma Wa Ngugi’s newest novel Unbury Our Dead with Song has been signed to Nairobi-based Jahazi Press.

Mukoma Wa Ngugi is one of Kenya’s most prolific authors with titles in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. The newest from the US-based academic is Unbury our Dead With Song, a novel about four talented Ethiopian musicians – The Diva, The Corporal, the Taliban Man and Miriam, who are competing to see who can sing the best Tizita (popularly referred to as Ethiopian blues). Taking place in an illegal boxing hall in Nairobi, Kenya, the competition is covered by a US educated Kenyan journalist, John Thandi Manfredi, who writes for a popular tabloid, The National Inquisitor. He follows the musicians back to Ethiopia in order to learn more about the Tizita and their lives. As he learns more about the Tizita and the multiple meanings of beauty, he uncovers that behind each of the musicians, there are layered lives and secrets. Ultimately, the novel is a love letter to African music, beauty and imagination.

Jahazi Press has acquired the East African rights to this title in the East African market starting August 2021. Jahazi Press founder Ahmed Aidarus, said of the acquisition;

We are really excited to get the rights to Mukoma Wa Ngugi’s newest title We Sing the Tizita to Unbury Our Dead. It is exciting work coming from one of the most important writers from the region. Written in Mukoma’s signature prose, it introduces Titiza, one of Ethiopia’s most famous musical contributions, to a new audience. We are certain that you will enjoy this, the latest from Mukoma Wa Ngugi.

Mukoma Wa Ngugi, the books author said;

“From my vantage point as a scholar of African literature and writer, I see the future of African writing lying in the hands of independent publishers such as Cassava, Paivapo and Jahazi Presses. Where educational publishing has stunted the African literary eco-system, independent publishers are publishing risky, adventurous and innovative works.

I am therefore very excited that Unbury Our Dead with Song, a novel I consider my love letter to African writing and aesthetics is being published by Jahazi. And equally happy, as a writer previously primarily published in the West that Unbury our Dead with Song has as its first homes Nigeria and Kenya. It is good to be home.”

The book is available in the market at Prestige Bookshop branches at Mama Ngina Street in the Central Business District and at the Lavington Mall.