Books

Always Another Country

A memoir by Sisonke Msimang.

Sisonke Msimang

Born in exile, in Zambia, to a guerrilla father and a working mother, Sisonke Msimang is constantly on the move. Her parents, talented and highly educated, travel from Zambia to Kenya and Canada and beyond with their young family. Always the outsider, and against a backdrop of racism and xenophobia, Sisonke develops her keenly perceptive view of the world. In this sparkling account of a young girl's path to womanhood, Sisonke interweaves her personal story with her political awakening in America and Africa, her euphoria at returning to the new South Africa, and her disillusionment with the new elites. Confidential and reflective, Always Another Country is a search for belonging and identity: a warm and intimate story that will move many readers. (From Publishers Group Canada)

From the book

These stories begin with the tale of a young man. One winter's morning in 1962, in anger and exhausted by the condition of being black, he joins an illegal army. The following year, he slips out of the country. The year after this, his leader Nelson Mandela is captured and tried for sabotage. In that trial, Mandela faces a life sentence but his bravery does not flag. Instead he rises to the occasion and utters the famous words 'I am the first accused,' and the world takes note as it watches an African man stand firm in the face of almost-certain death.

By the time Mandela appears appears before the judge to answer to sabotage charges in 1963 — by the time he has said he is prepared to die for the struggle against white domination — the young man who will one day be my father has fled the country and has already been in Russia for a year, learning how to shoot a gun and decipher Morse code. Like other recruits, he leaves without saying goodbye to his parents or his cousins or his best friend. He wakes up, after months of careful and near-solitary planning, and disappears into the mist. A decade later, he is in Lusaka. After leaving the Patrice Lumumba Friendship University in Moscow, he goes to Tanzania where he works alongside other comrades to establish a military base. He travels to Guinea-Bissau and stands alongside Amílcar Cabral's forces staring down the Portuguese on the frontlines. By the time he reaches Lusaka, the man is no longer so young and has seen friends die.


From Always Another Country by Sisonke Msimang ©2018. Published by Publishers Group Canada.

Interviews

The daughter of an ANC guerrilla in exile, Sisonke Msimang grew up moving from country to country. The author says it gave her an outsider's perspective, and framed her understanding of "home." 22:56

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