Always Another Country

By Sisonke Msimang

Born in exile, in Zambia, to a guerrilla father and a working mother, Sisonke Msimang is constantly on the move. Her parents, talented and highly educated, travel from Zambia to Kenya and Canada and beyond with their young family. Always the outsider, and against a backdrop of racism and xenophobia, Sisonke develops her keenly perceptive view of the world. In this sparkling account of a young girl’s path to womanhood, Sisonke interweaves her personal story with her political awakening in…
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Literary novel



Year of publication


Date of publication 4 September 2018

‘Brutally and uncompromisingly honest, Sisonke’s beautifully crafted storytelling enriches the already extraordinary pool of young African women writers of our time. Sisonke, a child of the Struggle, revisits the metamorphosis of the value system embraced by the liberation movements and emerges as a powerful free spirit, nurtured by its resilient core values.’ —Graça Machel, widow of former South African president Nelson Mandela

‘Sisonke Msimang’s Always Another Country is my favourite kind of memoir, so lyrical and dreamlike that it reads like a novel. It’s an artful meditation on exile and return, womanhood and motherhood unfolding against the backdrop of post-apartheid South African politics.’ –Taiye Selasi, The Guardian, Best Books of 2017

‘Sisonke Msimang had to grow up fast. In Always Another Country, one of South Africa’s emerging social critics tells the story of her youth, bouncing between continents and cultures, all the while being 'bottle-fed the dream' of a free South Africa by her mother and her exiled African National Congress father. Msimang points unflinchingly to her country’s open wounds. She is as critical of the ANC leadership as she is of oblivious white compatriots. Her memoir is a unique perspective on South Africa’s recent history that fundamentally tells the struggle of a deeply torn woman to comprehend a deeply torn country.’ –Financial Times

‘Always Another Country, a graceful memoir by Sisonke Msimang, is a welcome novelty. Msimang, a South African writer and political analyst, charts an alternate course to the now familiar conclusion that home is not always a place on a map.’ –New York Times

‘Before personal and political events finally allowed her to go 'home' to South Africa, Msimang spent her first 20-plus years in peripatetic exile. Hauntingly raw (her sexual assault at age seven) and unblinkingly honest (her lingering hatred of a school bully), Msimang’s memoir and first book recounts the intimate, inspiring, tumultuous journey of a woman 'piecing herself back together'.’ –Terry Hong, Booklist

Sisonke Msimang

Sisonke Msimang is one of the most exciting contemporary female black voices in literature. Now based in Perth, Australia, she is Programme Director for the Centre for Stories, a social enterprise organisation, from where she travels regularly to the US, South Africa and further afield. She regularly contributes to publications like The Guardian, the Huffington Post and The New York Times. She has over 20,000 followers on Twitter @Sisonkemsimang. Her TED Talk, ‘If a story moves you, act on it’, has been viewed over 1 million times. Photo: © Nick White