The best books on Southern Africa you might not know

Evadeen Brickwood Author Of Singing Lizards
By Evadeen Brickwood

Who am I?

I moved from Germany to Botswana when I was a fledgling translator and then on to South Africa 2 years later. I fell in love with this part of Africa that had a hand in making me the person I am today. Since I used to travel a lot, not all of my books are set in Southern Africa, but I have a passion for sharing my African stories with the world. My latest project is the Charlie Proudfoot murder mystery series, which is set in South Africa. Being a translator, I also translate books into German/English and four of them so far, are my own.

I wrote...

Singing Lizards

By Evadeen Brickwood,

Book cover of Singing Lizards

What is my book about?

Bridget Reinhold’s sister disappears in the southern African country of Botswana. Although she is the more reclusive of the sisters, she courageously heads out to live in Africa to order to find Claire. At first, she suspects that a crime was committed, but the more she is drawn into the spell of Africa, other possibilities begin to emerge. Bridget’s life takes unexpected turns and she begins to wonder what is real and what is not and what she is doing in Botswana in the first place.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is readers supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Zoo City

By Lauren Beukes,

Book cover of Zoo City

Why this book?

Zoo City is set in a fictional reality Johannesburg. I like how observant she is when it comes to describing Johannesburg, the city where I live. A very clever book and not what you’d expect of a book on Africa. Lauren Beukes inspired me to consider writing about Johannesburg myself.


By Bessie Head,

Book cover of Maru

Why this book?

When I moved to Botswana, I wanted to learn more about the country, where I should live for more than 2 years. Somebody gave me books by Bessie Head and I learned so much by just reading these books. Maru was not the only book I’d read by Bessie Head, but it was one of the best books on Botswana.

Talk of the Town: Short Stories

By Fred Khumalo,

Book cover of Talk of the Town: Short Stories

Why this book?

Talk of the Town is a collection of short stories. Although the author describes foreigners in South Africa and has a political slant, he is not preachy like many other books on such topics. His style is quite witty, observant, and informative from his point of view. All qualities that I admire in a writer.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

By Alexander McCall Smith,

Book cover of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Why this book?

Okay, you might know this book series by Alexander McCall-Smith. Although I experienced Botswana differently, I must give him literary license when it comes dramatising life in this country. I like how he mixes facts about Botswana with his fictional stories and puts my country of choice (for a couple of years) on the map.

The President's Keepers: Those Keeping Zuma in Power and Out of Prison

By Jacques Pauw,

Book cover of The President's Keepers: Those Keeping Zuma in Power and Out of Prison

Why this book?

At the time this book hit the shelves, it was dangerous to write about the facts of state capture in South Africa. The courageous author was meticulous when doing his research and had to be careful at the same time not to be detected. He got the book published despite many threats against his life and attempts to discredit him. I’ll be forever grateful that the South African public was given this opportunity to learn more about corruption in politics. The book was sold out for months for a reason.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Africa, Southern Africa, and Botswana?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Africa, Southern Africa, and Botswana.

Africa Explore 156 books about Africa
Southern Africa Explore 10 books about Southern Africa
Botswana Explore 9 books about Botswana

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like A Question of Power, Move Your Shadow: South Africa, Black and White, and When the Lion Feeds: Volume 1 if you like this list.