African Book Club | Unbury Our Dead With Song by Mũkoma Wa Ngũgĩ
THE AFRICAN BOOK CLUB @ MOAD
An ongoing series in partnership with Faith Adiele. February’s book selection is Unbury Our Dead With Song by Mũkoma Wa Ngũgĩ.
How to participate: Get a copy of the book, read it in advance of the meeting, and then discuss the book with a group of people interested in reading African literature online via zoom on February 27th at 5:00 PM (PST). After you register you will receive information to join via zoom. If you don’t see an email from MoAD, check your spam or junk mail box.
Unbury Our Dead With Song is available for purchase online at the MoAD bookstore.
You can view a list of all the books previously read and discussed in African Book Club, and if you order through bookshop, MoAD will receive a percentage of the sale: https://bookshop.org/lists/african-book-club
Hosted by Faith Adiele, Author, Professor & Co-Founder of African Book Club
About the Book
“Part mystery, part road novel, part philosophical enquiry, [this] is a dazzling journey to discover the meaning of music and its immense power over the human soul.” – Aminatta Forna, author of Happiness and The Devil that Danced on the Water
“Unbury Our Dead With Song is not merely a literary and a musical masterpiece but an artistic triumph.” – Zukiswa Wanner, author of The Madams and Men of the South
“If you are someone who is stirred by the sound of a song, or feel an ache in your heart over a farewell, and you enjoy a well-crafted and honest book – please put this one on your reading list.”New African Magazine
“…the first time you heard a Tizita that was yours, you fell in love with it. You never forget your first love; you never forget your first Tizita.”
In the heart of Nairobi, four musicians – The Diva, The Taliban Man, The Corporal and 70-year-old bartender Miriam – gather for a once in a lifetime competition, to see who can perform the best Tizita. In the audience is tabloid journalist John Thandi Manfredi, who is enthralled by their renditions of the Ethiopian blues.
Desperate to learn more, he follows the musicians back to Ethiopia, hoping to uncover the secret to this haunting music. Manfredi’s search takes him from the idyllic Ethiopian countryside to vibrant juke joints and raucous parties in Addis Ababa, set to a soundtrack of stirring Tizita performances.
From the humble domesticity behind the Diva’s glamorous façade, to the troubling question of the Corporal’s military service past, Manfredi discovers that the many layers to this musical genre are reflected in the lives and secrets of its performers.
A love letter to beauty, music and the imagination, Unbury Our Dead with Song captures how it feels have an encounter with the sublime.
About the Author
Mũkoma Wa Ngũgĩ is an Associate Professor of English at Cornell University and the author of The Rise of the African Novel: Politics of Language, Identity and Ownership, the novels Mrs. Shaw, Black Star Nairobi, Nairobi Heat, and two books of poetry, Logotherapy and Hurling Words at Consciousness. He is the co-founder of the Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature and co-director of the Global South Project – Cornell.