The Jive Talker or How to Get A British Passport (Malawi, 2008)
(LOVED IT BECAUSE Kambalu is a gifted and funny writer who presents his life (and that of his father--the Jive Talker) as an open book (literally). Technically, this isn't fiction but this Malawian Banda-era coming-of-age tale sure reads like it. The book recounts the author's up and down journey toward adulthood and some semblance of success (although I doubt he would qualify it in that manner) and love. In the tale, the 'jive talker' is the author's hustling alcoholic father who was known to riff bombastically on an encyclopedic range of subjects--a trait that obviously wore off on his son.
The book is at its best when the author is in the jive talking zone--whether that be on the former President Banda, American Rock n Roll, or bush wisdom regarding safari animals...or the efficacy of urine in dental hygiene. Ultimately, there's not a lot written out there on Malawi, fiction or otherwise, count yourself lucky that you have this 'laugh out loud' gem to enrich yourself!
*One of my Reading Around the Continent books--the full list is here.
My 2016, 2015 and 2014 Reading Lists.
p. 52 Jive on Bruce Lee and American Culture
p. 67-8 Jive on Malawi life president Hastings Kamuzu Banda
p.68-9 Jive on safari animals and bush wisdom
p. 73 Background on Tonga ethnic group
p. 74 Background on Yao Ethnic group
p. 112-16 Jive bio of Banda
p. 125 funny bit about washing teeth with urine to keep them healthy
p. 140 funny bit about language and accents
p. 144 "Holyballism is a state of mind"
p. 146 When Malawians hear classical music they think of a funeral
p. 185 Kamuzu Academy http://kamuzuacademy.com/
p. 215 crush on the daughter of Tanzanian president--named Salama
p. 218-27 Jive on the history of rock n roll
p. 221 Bo Diddley's Who Do You Love as the precursor to rap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAGoqMZRLB4
p. 246 Banda's fall begins when his human rights record is denounced by visiting Pope John Paul II