BlackBird Books



In August 2015 the face of South African publishing will change. This is the day that Thabiso Mahlape will launch her new book imprint BlackBird Books. The imprint, incubated by Jacana Media, seeks to provide 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.

The 31-year-old Mahlape describes BlackBird Books as a ground-breaking move in the South African literary landscape and looks forward to 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’.

Results 1 - 13 of 13

The Refined Player: Sex, Lies and Dates

International model and actor, Stevel Marc, delves into and dissects the uncomfortable truths about honesty and fears in relationships

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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.

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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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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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Nwelezelanga: The Star Child

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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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FC_From A to B reprint_25Aug2017

From A to B Second Edition

Bonang Matheba has built up her brand, making her face the most recognisable one in South Africa.

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Sometimes you have to step-up and become the hero to your own story

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Entrepreneurship 101

Entrepreneurship 101 Tackling the basics of business start-up in South Africa

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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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