100 books like Kaffir Boy

By Mark Mathabane,

Here are 100 books that Kaffir Boy fans have personally recommended if you like Kaffir Boy. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of 1984

William R. Wolesensky Author Of Mathematical Methods in Biology

From my list on help people see the necessity of effective thinking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived a life filled with diverse life experiences and have encountered people in very different professions who could think effectively and deeply understand topics unrelated to their profession. My life changed for the better when I finally started to develop a deep understanding of math, which empowered me to believe that I could develop a deep understanding of things I encountered. However, this change did not occur in me until my late twenties. My current passion is to empower people to think more effectively early in their lives.

William's book list on help people see the necessity of effective thinking

William R. Wolesensky Why did William love this book?

The world Orwell presents in this book is the result of a society that no longer advocates for ALL its members to pursue the ability to think freely, deeply, and effectively. The world shared in 1984 and the many similarities I see today have made me more passionate than ever about how the study of math can help people lead better lives.

I believe that developing a deep understanding of mathematical concepts, which everyone is capable of, will make people want to deeply understand everything in their world.

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

45 authors picked 1984 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU . . .

1984 is the year in which it happens. The world is divided into three superstates. In Oceania, the Party's power is absolute. Every action, word, gesture and thought is monitored under the watchful eye of Big Brother and the Thought Police. In the Ministry of Truth, the Party's department for propaganda, Winston Smith's job is to edit the past. Over time, the impulse to escape the machine and live independently takes hold of him and he embarks on a secret and forbidden love affair. As he writes the words 'DOWN WITH BIG…


Book cover of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Melinda Lewis Author Of Social Policy for Effective Practice: A Strengths Approach

From my list on igniting students’ passions about policy change.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a policy advocate, grassroots activist, university professor, and author committed to social change—at scale—to advance social work values of racial, economic, environmental, and social justice. Recognizing that most social workers are drawn to our profession because they want to make a difference in the lives of their clients, one by one, I invest my energies and skills to making policy study and practice accessible, relevant, and urgent. My students quickly get used to noting the book recommendations I sprinkle throughout class discussions and in assignment feedback, because when you see the world through a social policy frame, everything has a policy implication! 

Melinda's book list on igniting students’ passions about policy change

Melinda Lewis Why did Melinda love this book?

Wilkerson’s scholarship on race and injustice is certainly not a secret, but I still find some colleagues who have not yet read this book.

To convince people to pick it up, I promise that its language is poetic and imminently accessible, and I share the two pieces that have remained top of mind for years: first, Wilkerson’s research about the lessons Nazi Germany took from the racial caste system of Jim Crow United States, and second, the way she crafts an analogy of a crumbling house to make the case for reparations for racist harm, which—like cracks in the foundation of a house you just bought—may not be your fault but are still your problem.

I am forever grateful to Wilkerson for gifting us her insights and rhetorical tools, conveyed so skillfully in this tremendous contribution.

By Isabel Wilkerson,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Caste as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE TIME NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR | #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"Powerful and timely ... I cannot recommend it strongly enough" - Barack Obama

From one of America's most celebrated and insightful writers, the moving, eye-opening bestseller about what lies hidden under the surface of ordinary lives

In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human…


Book cover of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

Shugri Said Salh Author Of The Last Nomad: Coming of Age in the Somali Desert

From my list on bringing other cultures to life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am at heart a storyteller, with a special interest in archiving and weaving the tales of my people to give you insight into a culture that is quite different from yours. Like an archaeologist digging a forgotten world, I want to bring these stories to life in the form of words. After a long day of animal herding and chores, my family and I would sit by the fire in a vast, open desert covered in blackness, and share century-old stories. My big ears consumed these stories like a thirsty desert after a long drought, so I could one day share this library of wisdom with others.

Shugri's book list on bringing other cultures to life

Shugri Said Salh Why did Shugri love this book?

This memoir captures the journey of child soldiers during the civil war in Sierra Leone, and shows how once-innocent children with ordinary lives became killing machines in the hands of a ruthless rebel leader. Beah doesn't shy away from the gruesomeness of civil war, but there is beauty in how he weaves this memoir that reads like a novel. Though I am not usually a fan of books with a lot of violence, I was drawn to this one and could not put it down. I believe history is best learned from those who have first-hand experience. This is a one-of-a-kind book and to Beah’s credit, well-written as well. 

By Ishmael Beah,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked A Long Way Gone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this…


Book cover of Another Day of Life

Anjan Sundaram Author Of Breakup: A Marriage in Wartime

From my list on foreign correspondent memoirs of Africa.

Why am I passionate about this?

I studied reporters' memoirs of Africa for my PhD in journalism at the University of East Anglia, under Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland. I was fascinated by how foreign correspondents are aided by local reporters, who unfortunately often don’t receive much credit or commensurate pay for their contributions to international news. This inequality is changing, but not quickly enough, and it affects the kinds of news that we all receive, and how western lives, for example, are often respected more than others. 

Anjan's book list on foreign correspondent memoirs of Africa

Anjan Sundaram Why did Anjan love this book?

I promised my publisher, who edited Kapuscinski, a book as elemental, pure, and wild as Kapuscinski's seminal account of the Angolan independence struggle in 1975.

Though I’m not sure I succeeded, Breakup is that book.

I was inspired by this classic of reportage for its simple and profound observations of the city, and countryside, trying to make sense of the chaos and what Angolans, in Portuguese, called confusão.

By Ryszard Kapuściński, William R. Brand (translator), Katarzyna Mroczkowska-Brand (translator)

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Another Day of Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1975, Angola was tumbling into pandemonium; everyone who could was packing crates, desperate to abandon the beleaguered colony. With his trademark bravura, Ryszard Kapuscinski went the other way, begging his was from Lisbon and comfort to Luanda—once famed as Africa's Rio de Janeiro—and chaos.Angola, a slave colony later given over to mining and plantations, was a promised land for generations of poor Portuguese. It had belonged to Portugal since before there were English-speakers in North America. After the collapse of the fascist dictatorship in Portugal in 1974, Angola was brusquely cut loose, spurring the catastrophe of a still-ongoing civil…


Book cover of Report to Greco

Odie Hawkins Author Of Shackles Across Time

From my list on understanding the human condition.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a great African-American writer because I have not spent eons in jail (taught writing classes there), never been shot by the police (yet), and I have a number of interesting books for sale ranging from Urban, Erotic, Science-Fiction, Fiction and Pan-African Occult. My books have been used in writing classes in colleges, universities, and prisons. I was one of the panelists for Professor Justin Gifford's presentation at the Modern Language Association Conference at the Hilton, LA Live. Also, I participated in a California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) event, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the “Watts Rebellion”. I have agreed to let this university archive my works.

Odie's book list on understanding the human condition

Odie Hawkins Why did Odie love this book?

This Cretan writer, who is most often identified as a Greek, asks us to probe our deepest identity, to be honest with ourselves. I think that that should be the first premise of an honest writer…an honest person. When you are born you are told early what to believe. Why you should believe. Who you and what you should believe or not believe in. At some point in your own life, you must resolve what you yourself accept for your own belief system. You should determine what is or is not important to you. Only then can you live YOUR LIFE.

By Nikos Kazantzakis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Report to Greco as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kazantzakis's autobiographical novel Report to Greco was one of the last things he wrote before he died. It paints a vivid picture of his childhood in Crete, still occupied by the Turks, and then steadily grows into a spiritual quest that takes him to Italy, Jerusalem, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Russia and the Caucasus, and finally back to Crete again. At different times Nietzshe, Bergson, Buddha, Homer and Christ dominate as his spiritual masters.


Book cover of The Mexicans: A Personal Portrait of a People

Odie Hawkins Author Of Shackles Across Time

From my list on understanding the human condition.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a great African-American writer because I have not spent eons in jail (taught writing classes there), never been shot by the police (yet), and I have a number of interesting books for sale ranging from Urban, Erotic, Science-Fiction, Fiction and Pan-African Occult. My books have been used in writing classes in colleges, universities, and prisons. I was one of the panelists for Professor Justin Gifford's presentation at the Modern Language Association Conference at the Hilton, LA Live. Also, I participated in a California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) event, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the “Watts Rebellion”. I have agreed to let this university archive my works.

Odie's book list on understanding the human condition

Odie Hawkins Why did Odie love this book?

I think that we should all make an effort to understand people who are not from our cultural stew; people who seem different, but wind up being like us; once we get to know them.

Patrick Oster is not a sociologist, a psychologist, or an ugly American. He could be Joe Blow from down the block who decides to go to Mexico, to get to know the Mexican people. He does not make an effort to know all the people, he simply makes friends with those who are friendly, and leaves the others alone; just the way he would do in America.

I feel that this book is a wonderful example of what can come from an honest exploration and a warm writing style.

By Patrick Oster,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mexicans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Mexicans is a multifaceted portrait of the complex, increasingly turbulent neighbor to our south. It is the story of a country in crisis -- poverty, class tensions, political corruption -- as told through stories of individuals.
From Augustín, an honest cop, we learn that many in the Mexican police force use torture as their number-one-crime-solving technique; from Julio Scherer Garcia, a leading newspaper editor, we learn how kidnapping and intimidating phone calls stifle a free press; we hear from a homosexual teacher wary of bigotry in a land of machismo; and many others.
Moving from Mexico City discos to…


Book cover of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Christine Ieronimo Author Of A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water across the World

From my list on stories from Africa with strong protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about writing books for children that create windows to the world, teaching empathy. Children that are empathic grow up to be kind and compassionate adults. I write because I long for a world that is more accepting and compassionate.  

Christine's book list on stories from Africa with strong protagonists

Christine Ieronimo Why did Christine love this book?

Drought has hit a Malawi village and everyone’s crops are failing. Fourteen-year-old William Kamkwamba figures out how to bring electricity to the village by building a windmill out of scraps from a junkyard. I love this story because it highlights the importance of education, and along with determination, William was able to build this windmill bringing electricity which helped lift this community up and bring hope. Education is the best way to lift communities up from poverty. Elizabeth Zunon provides gorgeous illustrations that enhance the text.  

By William Kamkwamba, Bryan Mealer, Elizabeth Zunon (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

When a terrible drought struck William Kamkwamba's tiny village in Malawi, his family lost all of the season's crops, leaving them with nothing to eat and nothing to sell. William began to explore science books in his village library, looking for a solution. There, he came up with the idea that would change his family's life forever: he could build a windmill. Made out of scrap metal and old bicycle parts, William's windmill brought electricity to his home and helped his family pump the water they needed to farm the land. Retold for a younger audience, this exciting memoir shows…


Book cover of Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust

Gail Vida Hamburg Author Of The Edge of the World

From my list on books about surviving wars written by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I feel compelled to write political works when I see an injustice, violation, corruption, or travesty that needs to be addressed. It's possibly the result of my heritage as a citizen of a British-colonized country and the child of parents from a Christian-colonized slice of a continent. As a journalist, I experienced censure and censorship by editors who wished to maintain their held beliefs about certain people, races, issues, and subjects. As a novelist, I was rejected by mainstream publishers for writing deemed too political. However, I made a commitment as a writer not to change my words to appease publishers or editors because it made them uncomfortable.   

Gail's book list on books about surviving wars written by women

Gail Vida Hamburg Why did Gail love this book?

This is a harrowing account of the genocide in Rwanda told by one of its survivors, Imaculee llibagiza, after Hutu soldiers murdered her father, mother, and two brothers during a killing spree that took the lives of a million Rwandans.

In a fight for survival, Imaculee and seven other women took refuge in a 3’ by 3’ bathroom hidden behind a wardrobe in a pastor’s home. As the machete-wielding gunmen continued hunting for more victims, Imaculee and the women remained in their cloister in silence. Her  91 days in hiding is a testimony of endurance and resilience in the face of unrestrained evil.

When everyone you love is dead, and everything you love is lost, how do you go on? Imaculee found the answer in faith, love, forgiveness, and optimism. It is a haunting story of an ordinary woman and earthly mortal forced into an enlightening spiritual experience with the…

By Immaculée Ilibagiza,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Left to Tell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Immaculee Ilibagiza grew up in a country she loved, surrounded by a family she cherished. But in 1994 her idyllic world was ripped apart as Rwanda descended into a bloody genocide. Immaculee's family was brutally murdered during a killing spree that lasted three months and claimed the lives of nearly a million Rwandans.

Incredibly, Immaculee survived the slaughter. For 91 days, she and seven other women huddled silently together in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor while hundreds of machete-wielding killers hunted for them. It was during those endless hours of unspeakable terror that Immaculee discovered the power of…


Book cover of Move Your Shadow: South Africa, Black and White

Kenneth P. Vickery Author Of The African Experience: From "Lucy" to Mandela

From my list on Southern Africa as picked by a historian.

Why am I passionate about this?

For fifty years I have studied and taught the history of Africa, which  makes me about the luckiest guy around.  My focus has been on Southern Africa, and especially Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.  Aside from the fantastic physical beauty, the region attracts because of the comparability of its history and experience with that of the United States at many points:  for instance, a colonial past, systems of slavery, and fraught [to say the least] racial dynamics.  I have enjoyed 23 journeys or lengthier sojourns in Southern Africa, and have taught at five universities, including North Carolina State, Duke, and the University of Zimbabwe as a Fulbright Lecturer.

Kenneth's book list on Southern Africa as picked by a historian

Kenneth P. Vickery Why did Kenneth love this book?

Move Your Shadow is a masterpiece of reportage. Lelyveld, a former executive editor of the New York Times, spent considerable periods in apartheid South Africa in both the 1960s and the 1980s. The sixties was the period of “baaskap”—“bosshood” apartheid, when the perverse racist cruelties of the system were imposed with a sledgehammer. I would call the eighties the era of “facelift” apartheid—why, the word was hardly used by the regime anymore. 

To paraphrase Gramsci, the old world was dying, a new one struggled to be born. Monsters abounded. Nobody captured the period better than Lelyveld. The chapter on Philip Kgosana, the idealist who led Cape Town demonstrations in 1960—at age 19—was betrayed by the state, and wound up in exile in Sri Lanka—is worth the price of the book.

By Joseph Lelyveld,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Move Your Shadow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Drawing on his tours in South Africa as a correspondent for the "New York Times," the author details the absurdities, rationalizations, inequities, and cruelties of apartheid, showing what it means to suffer and survive under the restrictions of racial separation


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