News Brief

Yaa Gyasi Makes The National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 List for 2016

Life keeps getting sweeter for Ghanaian-American author Yaa Gyasi.


The 26-year-old Homegoing novelist has been hand-picked for The National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 list for 2016.

Her debut best-selling book that sold for over a million dollars traces the family tree of two half-sisters, Effia and Esi. Esi becomes a slave held captive in the dungeon of the very Cape Coast Castle that Effia resides in with her husband, a British soldier, until she is shipped to America where her descendents will be resigned to a similar fate. Gyasi explores themes such as Ghana’s collusion in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade as well as the unspoken tensions between African-Americans and African immigrants.

Gyasi tells Al Jazeera The Stream’s hosts Femi Oke and Malika Bilalin on Tuesday:

The American dream is still very much denied [to] African-Americans. You still can have access to whole worlds as a black immigrant that you don’t get as African-American. I’ve certainly heard about how when percentages are given about how many black students are in a college, for example, typically there are large percentages of Ghanaians or Nigerians, or Haitians or Jamaicans or whatever, who also make up that group. Does that mean it’s denying African-Americans access to these same spaces? That’s a larger part of this conversation: what do we have access to and what don’t we have access to and what privileges are afforded African immigrants that aren’t afforded [African-Americans].

It’s the 11th year for 5 Under 35, which recognizes the contributions of five fiction writers whose debut work promises to leave an indelible mark on the literary world. Each year, the honorees are selected by a committee comprised of National Book Award Winners and Finalists and those previously honored.

In the case of Gyasi, she was nominated by none other than Between the World and Me author and National Correspondent for The AtlanticTa-Nehisi Coates, who received the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction.

An invitation-only ceremony will held on November 14 where the distinguished guest of honor will each receive a $1,000 prize.

Big up to Gyasi.

Click here for the full list of the 2016 honorees, and watch Gyasi's conversation with Al Jazeera's The Stream below.

Featured
Supplied

Ugandan Sports Maven Usher Komugisha Is Preparing To Spread Her Wings

After successfully commentating at the recent Basketball Africa League held in Kigali, award-winning sports journalist and analyst Usher Komughisha is dead set on pursuing a new challenge.

Most times, when we think of sports industry personalities, especially in Africa, the first name that springs to mind is usually that of a male. Women, however, are increasingly breaking barriers and taking up their rightful positions everywhere in society. And it's so inspiring to watch!


Usher Komugisha continues to defy the odds, and she is rising to become a household name in the sports industry in Africa. If you followed the inaugural Basketball Africa League (BAL) competition that kicked off on May 16, 2021 in Kigali, Rwanda, then you definitely know who we are talking about. With great power, control and a unique voice, Usher commanded the attention of basketball lovers in the 215 countries it was broadcasted to.

Usher's bubbly personality, which shone through when I first contacted her telephonically, brought warmth, a sense of comfort and for a minute it felt like we'd been friends for eternity. Below, she fills us in on her sports career and (near) future plans...

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Interview: Lady Du, Amapiano’s Sultry-Voiced Superstar, Is Smashing The Glass Ceiling

In conversation with amapiano star Lady Du about her rise, spirituality and considering herself a kwaito queen.