If I were given five minutes with my younger self—that little girl who cried every time we had to leave for another country—I would hold her tight and not say a word. I would just be still and have her feel my beating heart, a thud to echo her own—a silent message that, no matter the outcome, she would survive and be stronger and happier than she might think as she stood at the threshold of each new home.
Sisonke Msimang was born in exile, the daughter of South African freedom fighters. Always Another Country is the story of a young girl’s path to womanhood—a journey that took her from Africa to America and back again, then on to a new home in Australia.
Frank, fierce and insightful, she reflects candidly on the abuse she suffered as a child, the naive, heady euphoria of returning at last to her parents’ homeland—and her disillusionment with present-day South Africa and its new elites. Sisonke Msimang is a bold new voice on feminism, race and politics—in her beloved South Africa, in Australia, and around the world.
Sisonke Msimang was born in exile to South African parents—a freedom fighter and an accountant—and raised in Zambia, Kenya and Canada before studying in the US as an undergraduate. Her family returned to South Africa after apartheid was abolished in the early 1990s.
Sisonke has held fellowships at Yale University, the Aspen Institute and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and is a regular contributor to the Guardian, Daily Maverick and New York Times. She now lives in Perth, Australia, where she is head of oral storytelling at the Centre for Stories.
‘Few of us have felt the grinding force of history as consciously or as constantly as Sisonke Msimang. Her story is a timely insight into a life in which the gap between the great world and the private realm is vanishingly narrow and it bears hard lessons about how fragile our hopes and dreams can be.' Tim Winton
‘Brutally and uncompromisingly honest, Sisonke’s beautifully crafted storytelling enriches the already extraordinary pool of young African women writers of our time.’ Graça Machel, Minister for Education and Culture of Mozambique
‘A brave and intimate journey. Msimang delivers a deep call for fierce courage in the face of hypocrisy and compassion when faced with our shared humanity.’ Yewande Omotoso, author of The Woman Next Door
‘Sisonke Msimang kindles a new fire in our store of memoir, a fire that will warm and singe and sear for a long, long while.’ Njabulo S. Ndebele, author The Cry of Winnie Mandela
'An excellent blend of both the personal and political…a bold memoir…a tale that will sustain itself for generations.’ Books & Publishing
‘Msimang pours herself into these pages with a voice that is molten steel; her radiant warmth and humour sit alongside her fearlessness in naming and refusing injustice. Msimang is a masterful memoirist, a gifted writer, and she comes bearing a message that is as urgent and timely as it is eternal.’ Sarah Krasnostein
‘It is rare to hear from such a voice as Sisonke’s—powerful, accomplished, unabashed and brave. This is a gripping and important memoir that is also self-aware and funny, revealing the depths of a country we’ve mostly only seen through a colonial perspective.’ Alice Pung
‘It is not possible to do this book justice in so few words...Always Another Country is eloquent and powerful. Msimang’s explication of what it means to be from – but not of – a place is profoundly moving. Msimang deserves to be widely read and fans of Roxane Gay and Maxine Beneba Clarke, in particular, will not be disappointed.’ Readings
‘[An] eloquent memoir of home, belonging and race politics.’ Big Issue
‘Msimang is a talented and passionate writer, one possessed of an acerbic intelligence…This memoir is also full of warmth and humour.’ Saturday Paper