Category Archives: BOOK CLUB

Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi

BOOK CLUB July 2021 selection.

Homegoing is a novel about race, history, ancestry, love and time, charting the course of two sisters torn apart in 18th century Africa through to the present day.
Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into two different tribal villages in 18th century Ghana. Effia will be married off to an English colonist, and will live in comfort in the sprawling, palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising “half-caste” children who will be sent abroad to be educated in England before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the Empire. Her sister, Esi, will be imprisoned beneath Effia in the Castle’s women’s dungeon, before being shipped off on a boat bound for America, where she will be sold into slavery.

Road Trip Rwanda: A Journey into the New Heart of Africa  by Canadian Will Ferguson.

BOOK CLUB June 2021 selection.

This non-fiction memoir has the author travelling in Rwanda 20 years after the genocide with his friend and cohort Jean-Claude Munyezamu, a man who escaped Rwanda just months before the killings began.

From the legendary Source of the Nile to Dian Fossey’s famed “gorillas in the mist,” from innovative refugee camps along the Congolese border to the world’s most escapable prison, from tragic genocide sites to open savannahs and a bridge to freedom, from schoolyard soccer pitches to a cunning plan to get rich on passion fruit, Ferguson and Munyezamu discover a country reborn.
Funny, engaging, poignant, and at times heartbreaking, Road Trip Rwanda is the lively tale of two friends, the open road, and the hidden heart of a continent.

This Mournable Body, by Tsitsi Dangarembga of Zimbabwe

BOOK CLUB April 2021 selection.

This book was among those recommended by the Lonely Planet in a post shared in the January E-News, and was long-listed for the 2020 Man Booker Prize. The Calgary Public Library calls it “a searing novel about the obstacles facing women in Zimbabwe, by one of the country’s most notable authors”.
Availability: The book is available at the Library, at Pages on Kensington and Shelf Life Books.

28 Stories Of AIDS In Africa by Stephanie Nolen

When we think of the grandmothers we are working to help in Africa, their children, grandchildren, families and friends, how much can we grasp of the impact of HIV/AIDS on their lives from our sheltered viewpoint?
Stephanie Nolen was the Globe and Mail correspondent inAfrica for six years and wrote this very readable book of personal encounters with 28 different lives.
The book was written in 2007 and many advances have been made in the ensuing years but along with miracle drugs has also come worldwide economic turmoil which has meant the situation and root causes remain largely unchanged. The book is available in the Calgary Public Library.

We Are All the Same by Jim Wooten

Nkosi Johnson was the face of children with AIDS in South Africa.  Given a home by a white South African family, he was given the opportunity to speak about living with AIDS at a time when the South African leaders were ignoring the crisis in their midst.  Articulate and self-possessed, he talked about our shared humanity and needs.  ‘We are all the same’.
Wooten interweaves the story of Nkosi with the history of blacks in South Africa and the stories of other Africans with AIDS.  By giving AIDS in South Africa a face, Nkosi makes it impossible for the reader not to feel compassion for all the children suffering like this.
This book provides the stories to humanize the crisis in Africa.

Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis

Binti, a thirteen year-old girl in Malawi, is very happy with her life.  The youngest of three children, she stars in a radio show called ‘Gogo’s Family’, attends a private school and mocks her older sister for being madly in love with her boyfriend.  Her mother has died some years earlier and her father runs ‘The Heaven Shop’, a coffin-making business which shows no sign of ever being short of work.
Her world is turned upside-down by the illness and subsequent death of her father.  Her family is separated and it is only when she goes to live with her grandmother that things begin to improve.
This is a Young Adult book which deals honestly with some of the ways that young girls can be infected with AIDS and the consequences of this devastating disease.  It’s a quick read which explains why the Stephen Lewis Foundation is doing all it can to help the grandmothers of Africa.

Recommended for those who want an introduction to AIDS in Africa.