Blackbird Books Independent

BlackBird Books, formerly an imprint with Jacana Publishers in South Africa, became an independent publisher on Wednesday, April 1, 2020.

In the early 2010s, Jacana Publishers brought us some of South Africa’s most popular books at the time like Memoirs of a Born Free by Malaika wa Azania, My Father My Monster by McIntosh Polela and Redi Tlhabi’s Endings & Beginnings. Shepherding these titles from their writer’s computers to the bookshop was Thabiso Mahlape, a rising star in South African publishing.

In August 2015, BlackBird Books, a new imprint of Jacana led by the aforementioned Thabiso Mahlape came into being. It was to be a platform and a publishing home to both new voices and the existing generation of black writers and narratives. Since then, BlackBird has published titles like If You Keep Digging by Keletso Mopai, Sweet Medicine by Panashe Chigumadzi,  The Eternal Audience Of One by Rémy Ngamije, An Image In A Mirror by Ijangolet S Ogwang, From A To B by Bonang Matheba, Piggy Boy’s Blue by Nakhane Toure, and The Pavement Bookworm by Philani Dladla.

This April 1, BlackBird Books, after a daily countdown so that no one thought it was an April Fool’s Day Prank we suspect, announced that henceforth BlackBird Books would be a fully independent publisher. The announcement was shared on the firm Facebook page thus, “As we mark 1st of April as BBB independence day, we want to say thank you to the authors for entrusting us with their stories but most importantly we want to thank you the buyers for your continuous support. We promise to carry the torch of boldness, pride, and freedom of speech to illuminate the lives of those touched by its beam.”

Sending a message of support to the new outfit was its writer Rémy Ngamije who posted a video on Twitter stating, “good luck discovering more black gems, with pushing African literature and really looking forward to everything that you’re going to do. To everyone else out there, we might not have the rover but we’ve got the range.”

Below are some more congratulatory messages on social media;

You can follow the firm on Facebook, Twitter or their official company website.