Cry Sorrow

Cry Sorrow


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



In this collection of African stories, there are many interpretations of African suffering:

knowledge of evil, reality of injustice, loneliness away from parents, destroyed love,

self-awareness, bitterness, ethnocentrism, tyranny, corruption, brokenness.


Cry Sorrow, Cry Joy

Selections from Contemporary African Writers

Edited by Jane Ann Moore


Introduction Home and Exile


Family No Longer at Ease, Chinua Achebe


The Interpreters, Wole Soyinka


Beautiful Feathers, Cyprian Ekwensi


The Opportunity, Arthur Maimane


Education Tell Freedom, Peter Abrahams


Weep Not, Child, James


America, Their America, J.P. Clark


I Will Try, Legson Kayira


Politics People of the City, Cyprian Ekwensi


No Easy Task, Aubrey Kachingwe


Beautiful Feathers, Cyprian Ekwensi


The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, Ayi Kwei Armah


Economics Kinsman and Foreman, T.M. Aluko


Weep Not, Child, James Ngugi


Mine Boy, Peter Abrahams


The Gab Boys, Cameron Duodu


The Interpreters, Wole Soyinka


Race Houseboy, Ferdinand Oyona


Telephone Conversation,” Wole Soyinka


Papa, the Snake and I, Luis Bernardo Honwana


The Park, James Matthews


The Living and the Dead, Ezekiel Mphahlele


Religion The African Child, Camara Laye


The Catechist, Joseph W. Abruquah


Down Second Avenue, Ezekiel Mphanlele


24 Poems, Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo


A Grain of Wheat, James Ngugi


Biographical Information on African Writers



Abrahams, Peter. Born: Transvaal, South Africa, 1919. Mother coloured; father Ethiopian. Childhood: slum of Vrededorp in Johannesburg. Publication many novels. Now: lives in the West Indies, edits West Indian Economist.

Abruquah, Joseph Wildred. Born: Ghana. education Wesley College, Kumasi, Ghana; B.A. (Hons.) Degree and Dip.Ed at King’s College and Westminister College, London. Now: in the International Writing Program at University of Iowa. publications: The Catechist, 1965 and The Torrent, 1968. Son of a catechist.

Achebe, Chinua. Born: 1930, Eastern Nigeria. Father: catechist and teacher with the Church Missionary Society. Education: Government College in Umuahia; B.A. at University College in Umuahia; B.A. at University College, Ibadan. Occupation: 1954, broadcasting; 1961, Director of External Broadcasting in Nigeria. Four novels. Wife: Christie Okoli. Taught at Northwestern University Studies program. Spent much of the war in Biafra and on speaking tours in behalf of Biafra.

Aluko, T.M. Born: 1918, Western Nigeria. Education: Ilesha and government college, Ibadan; studied civil engineering and town planning in Lagos and London. In 1960 was appointed director of Public Works for the Western Region of Nigeria. Then with the staff of the staff of the University of Lagos. Three novels.

Kayira, Legson. Born: village, Malawi. Walked 2500 miles seeking education in U.S.A. Graduated from university of Washington. Post-graduate work at Cambridge, England. publication: three books.

Laye, Camara. Born: 1924 in French Guinea. He grew up in a society where magic was an everyday event. Both his parents were believed to possess supernatural powers. education: technical college at Conakry; engineering in France. Work: in a Simca factory in the suburbs of Paris while studying. Publications: several books.

Maimane, Arthur. Born: 1932, South Africa. Trained as a journalist there. Became Reuter’s correspondent in East Africa. Worked for a time in Ghana. Went to England. Worked as a current affairs commentator for the BBC. Has had several plays broadcast and published many short stories.

Matthews, James. Born: 1929, Cape Town, South Africa. Eldest son of a poor and large family. First job: newspaper seller. After leaving high school, a messenger, journalist, and a telephonist. His collection of short stories, Azilwewla, has been published in Sweden.

Mphahlele, Ezekiel. Born: 1919, in slums of Pretoria. Started school at 13 years of age. His childhood was spent carrying washing which his mother did for the white residents so that her three children might eat and gain an education. he finished high school, taught English and Afrikaans. Dismissed from school for his opposition to Bantu Education. Received external degrees of B.A. and M.A. from University of South Africa. Not allowed to teach. Stories, Man Must Live, were published in 1947; autobiography, Down Second Avenue was published in 1959; his master’s thesis, The African Image in 1962. Taught in Nigeria, worked in Paris, Geneva, Denver and East Africa.

Ngugi, James. Born: Highlands of Kenya. Education: University College, Makerere. Occupation: Journalist in Nairobi. University of Leeds. Several novels and plays. Places taught: University of Makerere.

Nkosi, Lewis. Born: Johannesburg, South Africa. Occupation: Journalist and broadcaster. Worked on Drum and other magazines. Eventually left South Africa for political reasons. Many published articles.

Oyono, Ferdinand. Born: 1929, Cameroons. Educated there and in France. Appeared on stage in the title role of Louis Sapin’s Papa Bon Dieu at the Theatre d’Aujourd’hui in Paris. Diplomatic service, first in Paris, then Rome, then at the UN, and in Brussels. Two novels translated into English.

Rabearivelo, Jean-Joseph. Born: 1901, at Antananarivo, Madagascar, of poor parents. With French and Spanish and wrote poetry in both languages as well as in his native Malagasy. he worked as a publisher’s clerk and published several volumes of poetry. In spite of his devotion to French culture, he was never able to visit France. he committed suicide in 1937. From 1930-31 he was co-editor of an interesting but short-lived literary review, Capri corne.

Soyinka, Wole. Born: 1935 in Abeokuta, Nigeria. Studied at University College, Ibadan. Read for English honors degree at Leeds University. Returned to Nigeria in 1960 to staff of the University of Ife. many plays, poems, and one novel. early in the Biafran war he was imprisoned by the Lagos regime as a security risk (he tried to visit Biafra), was released in October 1969 under a general amnesty. Reorganized the drama department at the University of Ibadan and filmed Kongi’s Harvest. In the summer of 1970, he produced a play, madmen and Specialists, written in prison, at Connecticut’s O’Neil theater, following previews in the black areas of Hartford, new Haven and Waterford.

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Cry Sorrow, Cry Joy

Selections from Contemporary African Writers

Edited by Jane Ann Moore

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Lewis Nkosi (5 December 1936 – 5 September 2010) was a South African writer and essayist. He was a multifaceted personality, and attempted every literary genre, literary criticism, poetry, drama, and novels. Nkosi worked for many years in Durban for the magazine Ilanga lase Natal and in Johannesburg for Drum.

Nkosi faced severe restrictions on his writing due to the publishing regulations found in the Suppression of Communism Act and the Publications and Entertainment Act passed in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1961, he received a scholarship to study at Harvard, and he began his life in exile. He was an editor for The New African in London, and the NET in the United States. He became a Professor of Literature and held positions at the University of Wyoming and the University of California-Irvine, as well as at universities in Zambia and Warsaw, Poland.

As opposed to apartheid, Nkosi’s work explores themes of politics, relationships, and sexuality. His essays and other works were published over four decades in America, England and Africa. His works, possessing great depth, received less recognition than they had actually deserved. In the post-apartheid era, his works are gaining critical attention across the third world. Interestingly, Nkosi joined forces with African powerhouse authors Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka in an interview in the third chapter of Bernth Lindfors’ Conversations With Chinua Achebe. In 1978, Nkosi and composer Stanley Glasser wrote a collection of six Zulu-style songs called “Lalela Zulu” for The King’s Singers, a group of six white British, male a cappella singers.—Wikipedia

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Mating Birds

By Lewis Nkosi

From his cell in Durban, South Africa, the black narrator of this short, powerful novel can see mating birds “clinging to each other joyfully in the bright air as though for dear life.” But he is condemned to die: condemned for mating with a white woman. On her accusation, he has been found guilty of rape; by his account they were “mating birds,” drawn together across racial barriers by irrepressible sexual desire. While the nature of their encounter remains ambiguous, the squalid evils of apartheid are rendered with the utmost clarity. Nkosi, an exiled South African, has a fine ear for dialogue and an unusual economy of expression. Recommended for black studies and fiction collections.—Peter Sabor, Library Journal

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Lewis Nkosi (documentary film)

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Books on African Film

African Film: Re-Imagining a Continent / Symbolic Narratives: African Cinema / African Cinema: Politics and Culture /

Africa Shoots Back: Alternative Perspectives In Sub-Saharan Francophone African Films  / Black African Cinema  /

African Cinemas: Decolonizing the Gaze / Questioning African Cinema: Conversations with Filmmakers

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Still Beating the Drum : Critical Perspectives on Lewis Nkosi

By Lindy Stiebel

Lewis Nkosi is one of South Africa’s foremost writers and critics, and one of the few survivors of the exile generation dating from the Drum era. Up until now, however, no full length study has been done on his work. This is a gap in South African literary history and criticism that this book is intended to fill. Besides his well known earlier works, Nkosi is still very much an active writer as the publication in 2002 of his novel, Underground People, shows, with his latest novel due out in 2005. The timing of Still Beating the Drum, a book which intends to highlight and evaluate his extensive and varied oeuvre, is thus appropriate. Given Lewis Nkosi’s life trajectory, this volume will appeal to readers interested in South African and African literature, both in South Africa and abroad.

Intended as a important critical resource on Lewis Nkosi, the book is divided into three parts:

Part One collects papers from scholars around the world currently working on Nkosi’s work in various genres; Part Two reprints key articles from different moments in Nkosi’s critical writing, together with hitherto unpublished recent interviews with Nkosi; and Part Three provides the reader with a timeline and extensive bibliography for Lewis Nkosi, both invaluable resources for scholars working on Nkosi given the scattered nature of much of his more ephemeral writings in the past. Lewis Nkosi is an important figure in South African literature whose voice has been heard far and wide—this book aims to collect for critical consideration some of the echoes and reverberations his voice has generated.

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African Film on DVD

Black Girl / Borom Sarret Sugar Cane Alley Kirikou and the Sorceress Lumumba

Amandla: A Revolution in Four Part Harmony / Cry, The Beloved Country   /  The Power of One 

Bopha / Mandela and deKlerk / Cry Freedom  / Hotel Rwanda / Sarafina / Yesterday

Tsotsi  / Hyenas Mandabi  / Xala Madame Brouette  / Yeelen / Life on Earth

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 21 November 2010



Home  The African World  Transitional Writings on Africa  

Related files: Cry Sorrow Contents  Cry Sorrow Introduction  Home & Exile

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