Literature
Photo by NIck White, courtesy of World Editions.

In Conversation: Sisonke Msimang Wants Young South Africans To Always Ask, 'And Then What?'

We speak with the South African critic and author to learn more about her literary debut and memoir, "Always Another Country."

We rarely hear about the stories of the children of revolutionaries.

Their perspectives not only give us another lens through the lives of their parents, but also their own regarding how they fit in the world post-struggle.

South African critic and author Sisonke Msimang is one of them, and her memoir, Always Another Country, is an opening to learn of her constant search of belonging and identity. Msimang was born in exile to her South African guerrilla father and her Swazi mother. From living in places including Zambia, Kenya and Canada in her formative years to eventually return to South Africa, the Australia-based writer's worldview and political awakening has been met with comforting complexity that many of us young Africans living away from home—on the continent and in the diaspora—can relate to.

Her literary debut, which took three years to complete, is a riveting story of Msimang's life story with her political awakening that formed while abroad, her euphoria that came with her return to her home country, and her anticlimax with the new elites of South Africa. Ultimately, she eloquently provides a testament to sisterhood and family bonds.

Prior to her release of her second project, a book about Winnie Mandela, we speak with Msimang on the intergenerational exchange between South Africans impacted by apartheid, the importance of questioning everything and more.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

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