Book Review – The Youngsters Series

Book Review – The Youngsters Series (Picador Africa)

It Feels Wrong to Laugh, But…. by Anele Mdoda ISBN: 9781770102477

In My Arrogant Opinion by Khaya Dlanga ISBN: 9781770102460

Becoming by Shaka Sisulu ISBN: 9781770102507

South Africa: A Long Walk to a Free Ride by Nik Rabinowitz, Gillian Breslin ISBN: 9781770102491

Picador Africa launched a series of pocket books written by a batch of ‘well-known’ South Africans, to coincide with Youth Day.

Note that well-known is relative here, as I’m only familiar with three of the featured authors, and why these particular people were chosen is as equally unclear. They vary in their professions, political affiliations, lifestyles, attitudes, ages, race etc., and yet the sample is still too narrow to give a true voice for South Africans.

The purpose of these books is confusing. The authors tackle different topics which vary from meaningful subjects to hair weaves. The books are badly edited and the chapters are randomly strung together. The books don’t blend as a series. The only common thing is the dubious cover art. Even the question section at the back of the book, conducted by Mandy Wiener, is not the same for everyone.

The most glaring inaccuracy of this series, is that the title is ‘The Youngsters’ and I would hardly classify any of these writers as youngsters by a long shot. Rabinowitz is 36!  Or are we using the ANC Youth League’s definition of youngsters?

Either way, if you’re fans of Anele, who writes as fast as she talks, and is extremely difficult to read, or want to read more about the late Walter Sisulu’s grandson, who has spent more time out of South Africa then in it, then you’ll probably look past all the inconsistencies.

I can only recommend Nick Rabinowitz’s little book which is a light-hearted, unbiased take on the history of our country.

Ashleigh Seton-Rogers

Posted on: 12th July 2012