BOOK REVIEW: Writing What We Like: A New Generation Speaks edited by Yolisa Qunta

Saturday, August 05, 2017 Rocío N. 0 Comments

photos: tafelberg, afternoon express

A year ago I had visited South Africa on an expedition with Operation Wallacea as a schools volunteer. My job was to aid the organisation with ecological surveys concerning terrestrial and marine wildlife. Because of my set itinerary for the entirety of my two-week stay, I was only able to develop a deeper understanding of animal culture rather than social. I felt in some way my South African experience wasn't exactly complete and I realised I needed to learn more about the local atmosphere as well. And so, on my last day while waiting at the airport, I decided to purchase with my remaining Rand a locally published book containing essays written by South African youth. This book is called "Writing What We Like: A New Generation Speaks". Everything was compiled and edited by the talented (and ultra-intelligent) Yolisa Qunta.

I was able to finish the book in a matter of days, even with sporadic pauses in between. It was an easy read but nonetheless interesting. Through simple wording, the individual authors were able to convey intellectually profound thoughts and opinions. At times gravely serious and other times hilarious, "Writing What We Like" is a book everyone should read: it is entertaining yet highly informative, innocent yet wise. What I enjoyed most about the collection was being able to peer into perspectives I had never experienced before; themes in the book can range from university life and post-Apartheid discrimination to the widely misconceived world of BDSM, all through the eyes of young black South African writers.

If I was able to pull anything from its context, "Writing What We Like" is a book by the youth for the youth. Each text provides deep insights from which a younger generation will be able to greatly benefit. However, "Writing What We Like", I must add, is in no way limited to the younger generation. It speaks loud and proud about the struggles of that very generation, yes, but it is set to build bridges and fortify connections through a mutual understanding across various age groups– not only in South Africa but worldwide. Though the work focuses mainly on local events, the views of the writers remain global and open, which I find incredibly impressive.

If you would like to learn more about South Africa through the perspective of young black writers that live there, I highly recommend you read this book. It is a significant new feat and deserves a whole lot of attention.

In addition, here is a video of Yolisa Qunta discussing her book:

Rocío x

Learn more about the book here.
Learn more about the author here.