Today sees the launch at Cape Town’s Book Lounge of Sisonke Msimang’s frank, fierce and insightful ALWAYS ANOTHER COUNTRY: A Memoir of Exile and Home, a book born from the author’s extraordinary global upbringing. Insightful, angry, hopeful, ALWAYS ANOTHER COUNTRY introduces a bold new voice on feminism, race, politics and Africa. Jonathan Ball Publishers won a fierce bidding war for Southern African rights and Sisonke’s debut has already won high-level pre-publication praise:
‘Brutally and uncompromisingly honest, Sisonke’s beautifully crafted storytelling enriches the already extraordinary pool of young African women writers of our time. Sisonke, a child of the Struggle, revisits the metamorphosis of the value system embraced by the liberation movements and emerges as a powerful free spirit, nurtured by its resilient core values.’ – Graça Machel
‘Sisonke Msimang kindles a new fire in our store of memoir, a fire that will warm and singe and sear for a long, long while.’ – Njabulo S. Ndebele, author The Cry of Winnie Mandela
‘A brave and intimate journey. Msimang delivers a deep call for fierce courage in the face of hypocrisy and compassion when faced with our shared humanity.’ – Yewande Omotoso, author of The Woman Next Door
As Jonathan Ball Publisher Ester Levinrad said on winning the hotly contested multi-publisher auction for Southern African rights to Sisonke’s story: ‘Once in a while you are fortunate enough to work with a writer who crystallises what makes publishing in South Africa so exciting, telling a personal story that could only have a local genesis, yet with a potential which defies borders. That is Sisonke’s story, to me – her writing helps me to make sense not only of the country but the world in which we live.’
From her peripatetic childhood in a family of political exiles – from Zambia to Kenya to Canada and beyond – Sisonke tracks formative moments in her personal and political life, including the euphoria at return to the new South Africa, the disillusionment at new political elites, and the ugly face of racism and xenophobia. But while well-known political figures appear in these pages, ALWAYS ANOTHER COUNTRY is also an intimate story, a testament to family bonds and sisterhood.
Sisonke Msimang’s international childhood prepared her to be a global citizen and an eloquent warrior for social justice, while her experience as a journalist and incisive political analyst makes her vision wider than the personal – but she also has a fiction writer’s gift for vivid characterisation and dialogue, and a voice that is warm, honest and wise. ALWAYS ANOTHER COUNTRY is moving and relevant, sometimes as much generous manifesto as memoir, following the journey of a girl becoming a woman, a feminist, a campaigner, a mother and a writer.
Sisonke Msimang lives in Perth, Australia, where she is Programme Director for the Centre for Stories, a social enterprise organisation, but she travels regularly to the US, South Africa and internationally. The child of prominent political exiles during South Africa’s apartheid era, she was born in Swaziland and raised in Zambia, Kenya and Canada, before going to the US as an undergraduate. Her family returned to South Africa after the release of Nelson Mandela and the unbanning of liberation movements in the early 1990s.
She has a BA from Macalester College, Minnesota, a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Cape Town, is a Yale World Fellow, an Aspen New Voices Fellow, and was Ruth First Fellow at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. She regularly contributes to publications like The Guardian, The Daily Maverick, The Conversation, the Huffington Post and The New York Times. Sisonke contributed a chapter to THE TIES THAT BIND: FRIENDSHIP AND RACE IN SOUTH AFRICA (University of Toronto Press). She recently gave an extremely popular TED Talk and narrated a story at The Moth event in New York.
Read and see more by Sisonke Msimang:
- Her TED Talk on storytelling – seen more than a million times
- New York Times piece on South Africa, America and National Exceptionalism
- Video – TEDx Soweto Talk: Mad at Mandela
- The Conversation: A Year of Reading and Images
- Video: A Pragmatic Idealist: The Moth in Washington D.C.
In Association with the Aspen New Voices Fellowship
- Africa is a Country: The Uber Driver and Muhammad Ali
- The Guardian: Caster Semenya is the One at a Disadvantage