All Rise: Resistance and Rebellion in South Africa 1910-1948
Graphic History by Richard Conyngham
Catalyst Press, April 2022
Paperback, 248pp; $24.95
This collective work revives six true stories of resistance by marginalized South Africans against the country’s colonial government in the years leading up to Apartheid. In six parts—each of which is illustrated by a different South African artist—All Rise shares the long-forgotten struggles of ordinary, working-class women and men who defended the disempowered during a tumultuous period in South African history. From immigrants and miners to tram workers and washerwomen, the everyday people in these stories bore the brunt of oppression and in some cases risked their lives to bring about positive change for future generations. With artwork by Saaid Rahbeeni, The Trantraal Brothers, Liz Clarke, Dada Khanyisa, Tumi Mamabolo, and Mark Modimola.
Young Adult Fiction by Hannes Barnard
Catalyst Press, January 2022
Paperback, 320pp; $16.99
Halley’s Comet is the coming-of-age story of Pete de Lange, a white 16-year-old schoolboy, set in small-town South Africa in 1986. Pete lives a relatively sheltered life, primarily concerned with girls and rugby—until one January night changes everything. Thrust together with two complete strangers—Petrus, a black farmworker’s son, and Sarita, an Indian shopkeeper’s daughter—the trio find themselves running for their lives from the vicious Rudie, whose actions will ripple far beyond that fateful night. This era-defying friendship—sparked by a shared secret— challenges everything Pete thought he knew and believed. And when anti-Apartheid revolutionaries set their sights on the town, it will change the course of the three young people’s lives forever. Halley’s Comet is a story of friendship, love, change, taking chances, hope, a comet, and some pretty cool 80s music.
Disruption: New Short Fiction from Africa
Edited by Rachel Zadok, Karina Szczurek, Jason Mykl Snyman
Catalyst Press, September 2021
Paperback, 260pp; $16.95
This genre-spanning anthology explores the many ways that we grow, adapt, and survive in the face of our ever-changing global realities. In these evocative, often prescient, stories, new and emerging writers from across Africa investigate many of the pressing issues of our time: climate change, pandemics, social upheaval, surveillance, and more. Facing our shared anxieties head on, these authors scrutinize assumptions and invent worlds that combine the fantastical with the probable, the colonial with the dystopian, and the intrepid with the powerless, in stories recognizing our collective future and our disparate present. Disruption is the newest anthology from Short Story Day Africa, a non-profit organization established to develop and share the diversity of Africa’s voices through publishing and writing workshops.
On My Papa’s Shoulders
Children’s Picture Book by Niki Daly
Catalyst Press, May 2022
Hardcover, 30pp; $17.99
Whether it’s jumping in puddles with Tata in the rain, greeting the neighborhood cat on the quiet back streets with Gogo, or holding hands with Mama while rushing to make the bell, walking to school with family is the best. But nothing is better than walking to school with Papa. From high above, resting on Papa’s shoulders, all of the town is in perfect view, and Papa always says “I love you” when he says goodbye. A sweet ode to fatherhood and the special relationships children share with each member of their family, On My Papa’s Shoulders reminds readers that it’s not about where we’re going, but rather the people who walk with us along the way.
The Cedarville Shop and the Wheelbarrow Swap
Young Adult Fiction by Bridget Krone
Catalyst Press, June 2022
Paperback, 172pp; $14.95
A lot of things can feel just out of reach in 12-year-old Boipelo Seku’s small, impoverished village of Cedarville, South Africa. The idea of one day living in a house that’s big enough for his family is just a faraway dream. But when Boi stumbles on a story about a Canadian man who traded his way from a paperclip to a house, Boi hatches his own trading plan starting with a tiny clay cow he molded from river mud. Trade by trade, Boi and his best friend Potso discover that even though Cedarville lacks so many of the things that made the paperclip trade possible, it is fuller than either of them ever imagined.
Fly High, Lolo
Young Adult Fiction by Niki Daly
Catalyst Press, May 2022
Paperback, 79pp; $7.99
More fun is on the way for Lolo in Fly High, Lolo, the fourth book in Niki Daly’s Lolo series for beginning readers. Lolo is kind-hearted, creative, full of joy, and— whether it’s making homemade Christmas decorations from recycled plastics, or stepping in when the school play goes awry—she always knows just what to do to save the day! In this collection of easy-to-read stories, we meet Lolo, a girl who lives in South Africa with her mother and grandmother, Gogo. Charmingly illustrated by the author, Fly High, Lolo follows Lolo as she explores her world, and the new adventures each day brings.
The History of Man
Fiction by Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu
Catalyst Press, January 2022
Paperback, 301pp; $17.99
Set in a southern African country that is never named, this powerful tale of human fallibility—told with empathy, generosity, and a light touch—is an excursion into the interiority of the colonizer. Emil Coetzee, a civil servant in his fifties, is washing blood off his hands when the ceasefire is announced. Like everyone else, he feels unmoored by the end of the conflict. War had given him his sense of purpose, his identity. But why has Emil’s life turned out so different from his parents’, who spent cheery Friday evenings flapping and flailing the Charleston or dancing the foxtrot? What happened to the Emil who used to wade through the singing elephant grass of the savannah, losing himself in it?