非漂 [Fēi Piāo] Newsbriefs: November 2017

A South African investigative journalist’s The President’s Keepers — documenting the ‘cancerous cabal’ that is reportedly bankrolling Jacob Zuma’s presidency — has become a best-seller even as the state moves to ban it. According to a report in Quartz Africa (Jacob Zuma’s corruption scandals are getting South Africans to read again), the State Security Agency and the South African Revenue Service have both taken action aimed at pressuring the publisher to take the controversial book off bookshelves nationwide.

“Who gets to document African realities? Who are the ‘gatekeepers’ of African publishing traditions? To what sort of audience does African writing cater?” Is NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names really “poverty porn”? These are some of the issues addressed by Jeanne-Marie Jackson in a lively article, New African literature is disrupting the standard lists of Western publishers (making readers happy).

Q & A with isiZulu translator of George’s Secret Key to the Universe, Phiwayinkosi Mbuyazi: When I encounter a word I’m not sure about (in fact even one with which I have a slight hesitation!) I quickly consult my heftiest English-Zulu Dictionary. If the word is not there – or it’s not satisfactory for what I need – I begin the process of creating a new word. In order to create new words I ask myself what does a word or object reminds me of or, if it does something, how does it do it? What does it sound like? Are there root words I can mash up to get me closer to something that will trigger the right intuition to a mother tongue speaker?

China is making big inroads among African university students, on the ground and in the PRC. A few numbers from Claire van den Heever’s piece, Confucius Institutes across Africa are Nurturing Generations of pro-China Mandarin Speakers: 40 Confucius Institutes are operating in Africa; 50,000 African students are studying in China, up from just 2,000 in 2003; and China has “promised to provide 30,000 scholarships to African students by 2018.”

A woman in Harare has gone to court, challenging the constitutionality of the practice of paying lobola, or bride price, reports Daniel Nemukuyu (Wants Lobola Abolished): I did not participate in the pegging of the lobola price. I was never given a chance to ask for the justification of the amounts which were paid. This whole scenario reduced me to a property whereby a price tag was put on me by my uncles and my husband paid. This demoralised me and automatically subjected me to my husband’s control since I would always feel that I was purchased.

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