good reading

This is my first Africa trip and before going I want to read great writing about South Africa, likely mainly fiction.


  • If you're interested in historical fiction and don't object to a lengthy novel, you won't go wrong with James Michener's masterpiece: "The Covenant", which is set in South Africa. Like most of his novels, it's a true tour de force.

    I was on this trip last year, it was nothing short of spectacular. You're in for a wonderful experience.
  • I second "The Covenant." Also, "Cry, the Beloved Country" by Alan Paton. An oldie but goodie. For nonfiction, "Long Walk to Freedom" by Nelson Mandela.
  • Spectacular for sure. A book I read before the trip was "A History of South Africa" by Leonard Thompson, 4th Edition. Covers the history thru 2014.
  • Don't forget The Power of One, a bildungsroman. If you want to explore deeper, more troubling subjects, try James Coetsee's (2 Booker prizes and a Nobel prize in literature isn't a bad recommendation for an author) Disgrace or other works of his that deal with apartheid. Another South African writer dealing with issues of apartheid is Nadine Gordimer (another Nobel prize and Booker prize winner). I haven't read all of her works and can't make a specific recommendation other than The Conservationist.
  • What about Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime! Though I think it is more meaningful for this one once you have been to South Africa.
  • Oh, I forgot! Great recommendation, British! A number of my friends are raving about this one!
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