Literature

Listen to the Cheeky Natives' Interview with Nthikeng Mohlele, Author of 'Michael K'

The author speaks about his novel, the writing process and his favorite writers.

Nthikeng Mohlele is a South African author who has thus far written five novels. His novel, Michael K, is a response to fellow author JM Coetzee's Life and Times of Michael K.


Nthikeng Mohlele sat down with Dr Alma-Nalisha Cele, co-host of the popular literary podcast, Cheeky Natives, which interviews Black authors about their bodies of work.

In the interview, he spoke about many things including his recent work, Michael K. Veteran novelist, playwright and poet Zakes Mda, described Mohlele's Michael K as "a work of reflective intensity, re-imagining character from JM Coetzee's world of stark and sparse prose".

READ: In Conversation: Zakes Mda on No Story Being too Taboo or Sacred to Tell

JM Coetzee's novel tells the story of Michael K who sets out to take his ailing mother back to her rural home. However, she dies during the journey. Michael K is left alone in an anarchic world of ruthless armies. After he is captured and imprisoned, he escapes and attempts to live as best a dignified a life as he knows how.

Speaking on his response to Cotzee's novel in Michael K, Mohlele says:

"I think Michael K is the representative of the unsaid and the misunderstood. He functions primarily as a very metaphorical figure from where I am sitting. But it also speaks to a very silent thing, which is the interdependence of generations of thinkers and writers."

In addition, Mohlele also speaks about the writing process and the inspiration behind Michael K, the importance of young readers and writers reading contemporary works as well as some of his own favorite writers which include Niq Mhlongo and Zukiswa Wanner.

Asked about the myth of Black people not reading or buying books and the sometimes exclusionary world of publishing, he responded:

"There are commercial considerations, publishers are in business. There are policy issues in terms of your arts and culture department. I believe, humbly, that a lot needs to be done in terms of the promotion and support of the arts and policy that will enable writers to enter mainstream publishing. On Black people not buying books, that is untrue. That is a reckless statement. Black people read. I was taught by Black professors who referred me to a whole lot of other Black people."

Mohlele also shared a list of five books he would recommend to a young 16-year-old to read. His list included: Things Fall Apart by the late Nigerian great Chinua Achebe, Detained by the veteran Kenyan writer Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography by South African writer Mark Mathabane, the poetry of the late South African Professor Keorapetse Kgositsile and the works of the late Zimbabwean writer Dambudzo Marechera.

You can purchase Michael K here.

READ: Meet the Dynamic Lawyer-Doctor Duo Behind the Riveting Cheeky Natives Podcast


Listen to the full interview below:



Photo: Aisha Asamany

How Relocating to Ghana Helped Reinvigorate Jewelry Designer Aisha Asamany's Work

Moving to Ghana gave Aisha Asamany's luxury jewelry brand, inspired by Adinkra symbols that traditionally project strength, fearlessness, love and power, renewed verve to tell personal stories of her growing clientele.

In 2019, the government of Ghana made a global splash with its Year of Return initiative – the campaign sought to encourage the African diaspora to return home to the continent, specifically to Ghana.

Linked to the 400th year commemoration of the first recorded landing of slaves in the United States, it became a launchpad for the Ghanaian government to convince Black people around the world to permanently settle in the West African country.

Aisha Asamany, a corporate management consultant for high-profile UK financial institutions turned self-taught luxury jewelry designer was one of many who heeded the call, trading in the corporate life for a spiritual and an entrepreneurial journey – one of joy, appreciation, and representation in her fatherland.

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Music
Photo by Timothy Norris/Getty Images

Wizkid, Tems, Black Coffee & More Nominated For 2022 Grammy Awards

See the full list of African artists honored during Tuesday's nomination ceremony.

Next year's Grammy nominations are in and Africa showed up and out!

The 64th annual Grammy music awards are on the horizon, and Tuesday's nomination ceremony covered a lot of ground within the music industry. Not surprisingly, Wizkid's Made In Lagos (Deluxe) received a nod for Best Global Music album, with the stellar and globally adorned track "Essence" featuring Nigeria's Tems being nominated for Best Global Music Performance. Nigerian favorites Femi and Made Kuti's joint project Legacy+ received a nomination under the Best Global Music Album category.

Other notable nods include; Beninese singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo's collaboration with Nigerian powerhouse Burna Boy, as well her performance with American cellist Yo-Yo Ma received under the Global Music Performance category. South Africa's Black Coffee's album Subconsciously made its mark within the Best Dance/Electronic Music Album category with his own nomination, and Ghanaian artist Rocky Dawuni under Best Global Music Album.

The music ceremony will be hosted in Los Angeles, US on January 31 2022 and we're excited to see who snags the highly coveted awards during next year's ceremony. In the meantime, let us know on Twitter who you're excited to see perform.

Keep scrolling to see the full list of African artists nominated for next year's Grammy award ceremony.

Check out the full list of nominees here.

Best Global Music Performance

"Mohabbat," Arooj Aftab

"Do Yourself," Angelique Kidjo and Burna Boy

"Pà Pá Pà," Femi Kuti

"Blewu," Yo-Yo Ma and Angelique Kidjo

"Essence," Wizkid featuring Tems

Best Global Music Album

"Voice Of Bunbon, Vol. 1," Rocky Dawuni

"East West Players Presents: Daniel Ho and Friends Live in Concert," Daniel Ho and Friends

"Mother Nature," Angelique Kidjo

"Legacy +," Femi Kuti and Made Kuti

"Made In Lagos: Deluxe Edition," Wizkid

Best Dance/Electronic Music Album

"Subconsciously," Black Coffee

"Fallen Embers," Illenium

"Music Is the Weapon (Reloaded)," Major Lazer

"Shockwave," Marshmello

"Free Love," Sylvan Esso

"Judgement," Ten City

Photo: Mini Cho

Mini Cho and the Renaissance of African Surf Culture

Competitive surfing helped Mini Cho find his place in the world. Now he wants to bring other Mozambicans into the fold.

While competitive surfing may be relatively new for much of coastal Africa, the existence of wave-riding has always been embedded within the rich diversity of African cultures. The recently released book Afrosurf, explores the renaissance of African surf culture, and the communities that have cultivated it.

The origins of surfing are commonly associated with Polynesian and Hawaiian culture, but historians, like University of California history professor, Kevin Dawson, have collated documented evidence of the independent history of African wave-riding from as early as the 1640s.

Yet, the development of professional surfing has created a surfing culture that has been predominantly framed from a Western perspective.

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