Best Books To Read 2021

I have compiled this list of my best books to read for 2021 as lockdown drags on. I have read many of these books during lockdown and thought I would share them with you. We have thankfully said good riddance to 2020 and what better way to inspire ourselves to travel than to read. This list of books is aimed at those of you that are planning to visit Southern Africa or South Africa in the near future or have already visited and miss Africa. As politics and COVID continue to make the news, some of these books are very relevant in this day and age. 

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.”  Charles W. Eliot

No Future Without Forgiveness by Desmond Tutu

This book is Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu’s personal account of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in post-apartheid South Africa. The title is a summary of his vision and is very relevant in today’s political climate.

In 1995, a year after the apartheid had ended, Desmond Tutu was appointed as chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) by President Nelson Mandela. This commissions mandate was to provide as complete a picture as possible of the gross human rights violations that happened between 1960 and 1994.

101 Kruger Tales by Jeff Gordon.

101 different tales of everyday people visiting the world renown Kruger National Park collected into one book for your reading pleasure. These stories will make you laugh, sometimes shake your head in wonder and maybe shed a tear or two as you explore each of these individual encounters of visitors to Kruger National Park. From enraged Elephants, Spitting Cobra’s and elusive Leopards with their kills, there is always a story to tell. Some stories are more cautionary about how not to do things in the Kruger Park and the results of human stupidity and lack of caution when interacting with wild animals.

A great read if you have visited or planning to visit the Kruger National Park or just longing for the bush after lockdown.

Saving The Last Rhinos by Grant Fowlds

Grant Fowlds provides a personal in depth view into the scourge of animal poaching in Africa as seen from a passionate conservationists point of view. Saving the Last Rhinos provides a  hard and sometimes brutal look into poaching and the impact of poaching on the environment. In South Africa alone we are losing two Rhinos each and every day a day to poachers. Every game ranger you talk to while visiting Africa has his own personal story about poaching and its devastating affect Africa’s wildlife. This book is a must read for those interested in conservation and the protection of the last remaining wildlife in Africa’s great parks.

Born A Crime Stories From A South African Childhood – Trevor Noah

Today we watch Trevor Noah on live T.V. the celebrated host of The Daily Show and a New York Times bestselling author and South Africa’s favourite comedian. But how did he get there? Explore the life and times of Trevor Noah, who was born a crime in apartheid South Africa. Born to a white Swiss father and a Black Xhosa mother, this union fell afoul of the immorality act in South Africa. Born A Crime covers his early childhood growing up in Soweto as apartheid ended and his formative years that made him the man he is today. Although Trevor is a well know comedian, this book has some very sad moments and is more personal than his more polished T.V. appearances. 

Fever by Deon Meyer

Deon Meyer is a well-known crime author who writes in Afrikaans. His books have been translated into numerous languages including English. In this book the world has been devastated by Fever. This new infectious disease spreads rapidly and catastrophically. A few people have a genetic quirk that saves them from Fever, but 95 percent of the world’s population are now dead. Willem and his son Nico, hiding out in a remote South African cave, survive. The big question is now what? The story starts out as a tale of father/ son survival but soon becomes the story of new civilisations survival in South Africa.

The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony

The Elephant Whisperer details the special bond that develops between a group of Elephants who would have been condemned to death had Lawrence Anthony from Thula Thula game reserve not stepped in and brought them to his reserve. The Elephant Whisperer is a heart warming and emotional story of conservation in Kwa Zulu Natal and the deep bond that was formed between the Thula Thula Elephants and Anthony. 

The Power Of One by Bryce Courtney

The Power Of One is an epic coming of age novel set in South Africa during the late 1930s and ending in 1951. This story is set against the back drop of the rise of Hitler who many Afrikaners supported and the growing reality of apartheid in South Africa.

Peekay, a young 5 year old English speaking boy, raised by a Zulu nurse, is sent to a Afrikaans speaking boarding school where as the youngest boy at the school he experience’s  the animosity between the white English speaking community and the white Afrikaans speaking community in South Africa first hand. The story is told in the first person as young Peekay struggles to find his way through life during this turbulent time in South Africa. The book was later adapted to film.

Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was in prison as I grew up in South Africa. Shortly after I left high school , Nelson Mandela was released from prison after serving 27 years. His autobiography tells the story of his incredible life and his many struggles, both personal and public. Nelson Mandela would go on to lead South Africa into a new era with the first multi-racial elections in 1994 serving as South Africa’s President for one term. A Nobel Peace prize winner, Nelson Mandela is considered to be one of the greatest statesmen of our time. Please feel free to gift this book to Donald Trump.

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