BlackBird Books

In August 2015 the face of South African publishing changed. This is the day that Thabiso Mahlape launched her new book imprint BlackBird Books. The imprint, incubated by Jacana Media, provides a platform and a publishing home to both new voices and the existing generation of black writers and narratives. 


Mahlape honed her skills as publisher with a number of highly acclaimed bestsellers; the award-winning Endings & Beginnings by Redi Tlhabi, the ground-breaking My Father My Monster by Mcintosh Polela and Malaika wa Azania’s Memoirs of a Born Free, all books which talk to multiple audiences on issues which impact us as South Africans. Other titles published include Bonnie Henna’s Eyebags & Dimples and Zoleka Mandela’s When Hope Whispers. 

Mahlape described BlackBird Books as a ground-breaking move in the South African literary landscape and looks forward to continue pioneering and establishing a framework for new South African narratives. She says that her inspiration and direction for this list stems from varied sources, but there are two that stand out the most for her.

The first is the story of how, in 1962, 24-year-old Nat Nakasa gathered his friends to tell them of his dream of wanting to launch a literary magazine. Through the magazine, black writers were to speak of their own experiences, in their own voices. Just as Drum had given a megaphone to a generation of urban African journalists, a literary magazine was to do the same for poets and novelists. Nat Nakasa’s dream was never realised. 

And when, in 1966, Nina Simone wrote about the pain of knowing that the world wouldn’t allow a ‘blackbird’ to fly we knew she was singing about the hardship of being a black woman, but it is not a stretch of the imagination to think that the reason why Nakasa’s dream was still-born was because he too was a ‘blackbird’.

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From A to B Second Edition

Is this a self-help book? Not quite. This is the story of how a girl from Mafikeng in the North West found her face next to that of Halle Berry’s in...

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MISS BEHAVE COV

Miss Behave

Upon encountering historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s quote, ‘well-behaved women seldom make history’, Malebo Sephodi knew that she was tired of...

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IF I STAY RIGHT HERE COV

If I stay Right Here

Shay, a seemingly shy and innocent journalism student, is sent to a female prison to cover a story on an inmate, but falls in love instead. Two...

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LAST STOP COV

The Last Stop

Set in the taxi industry, the story’s main characters are a poor taxi driver, a wealthy taxi owner and the taxi driver’s girlfriend. Crime fiction...

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Broke and Broken

Broke and Broken: The Shameful Legacy of Gold Mining in South Africa explores the exploitation, the blatant disregard for health and safety...

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HOLDING-MY-BREATH-COV

Holding My Breath Review

Holding My Breath is an apt title as Ace Moloi is always awaiting the next calamity. This memoir is presented as a letter to his deceased mother who...

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Entrepreneurship 101

Entrepreneurship 101 aims to educate South Africans about the fundamentals of entrepreneurship while looking at a uniquely South African business...

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Nwelezelanga

Nwelezelanga, The Star Child travels a magical and spiritual journey that merges the ancestral realms with contemporary realities. It is a story of...

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EXIT-COV

Exit!

Grizelda’s life was dramatically changed when she was gang raped at the age of nine by teenagers in her township. Her story starts there. It is a...

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Piggy Boy's Blues

“Rendered in exquisite prose that guides readers through the devastating knots of past and possibility. Nakhane Touré’s debut novel is magic. Piggy...

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Sweet Medicine

Sweet Medicine is a thorough and evocative attempt at grappling with a variety of important issues in the postcolonial context: tradition and...

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The Pavement Bookworm

This memoir of 24-year-old Philani Dladla will be one of the most inspiring, young South African stories you’re ever likely to encounter. An avid...

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The Refined Player: Sex, Lies and Dates

After being confronted with a realisation that he suffered from intimacy issues, Stevel Marc was led to a place of reflection and self-revelation....

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