Colleen Craig


Afrika by Colleen CraigFor thirteen-year-old Kim, travel to South Africa with her journalist mother will mark the end of her childhood and the beginning of a remarkable journey. Expecting nothing more than three months in her mother’s homeland, Kim comes to terms with the country’s diverse and often shocking history. The Truth and Reconciliation Hearings in post-apartheid South Africa open her eyes to the tragedy and brutality of its segregationist policies. Kim’s first meeting with her relatives, her contact with schoolmates and cousins, bring her face-to-face with the realization that she is not as removed from this powerful story as she thought.

As her mother struggles with her past, Kim becomes more and more determined to unlock the secret that has always kept her from knowing her father. Helped by the young son of a long-time family servant, whose own father was a casualty of Apartheid history, Kim eventually unlocks her mystery and brings her mother and herself to their own truth and reconciliation.

Praise for Colleen Craig’s Afrika:

Nominee for the 2009 Violet Downey Book Award

“The riveting revelations of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) are at the heart of this powerful novel…. Readers will be stirred by the connections with other history they know (“I was only carrying out orders”) and by the ultimate message about forgiveness.” —starred review, Booklist

“The realities of the society are carefully and skillfully portrayed, so that Kim’s story is truly the emotional heart of the book, and not a vehicle for ideas. Kim herself is a believable and likable character, and her relationship with Themba is tender and realistic. The author does not sugarcoat the realities of South Africa…. Not just another multicultural title, by any means, this novel will really grab readers who appreciate realistic fiction about young people searching for their place in the world.” —starred review, School Library Journal

Afrika has elements of a love story, an adventure and a mystery and is hard to put down. The story is complex and takes readers to both a geographical place and a political/historical situation in a very realistic and personal way. Themes of finding the truth and the forgiveness of wrongs are woven throughout the novel on every level, and readers, like Kim, learn a great deal not only about South Africa but also about how racism and prejudice are closer to us than we might want to believe. This young adult novel is excellent and should be in public and school libraries everywhere.” —Canadian Review of Materials

“Craig thoroughly transports the reader to another place and time, recreating the sights and sounds of South Africa and helping the reader to understand its contrasting turbulence and beauty. She captures the language, the class structure and the complexity of this culture along with the fierce pride of country that all South Africans, regardless of race, inherently feel. This novel is a history lesson, a mystery novel, a love story and a patriotic tale, all rolled into one.” —KLIATT

“…it bravely tackles a difficult subject and tries to make sense of the wounds left by apartheid on all South Africans…” —Quill & Quire

“The secret Kim uncovers from her mother’s past help the two forge a stronger relationship.” —Today’s Parent

“The book is well-written. The plot is fast-paced and full of mystery. The characters are consistent and beautifully drawn...Revealing a complex culture at its most chaotic, yet during a time when it was seeking healing, Craig’s South Africa is heartbreakingly real while fascinating. This is one book not to be missed.” —Canadian Literature

“This book would be a good read for anybody interested in Africa as well, because Colleen Craig did a good job of including interesting African history and facts, such as city and landform descriptions and cultural characteristics.” —Lethbridge Herald

“This is a commendable piece of fiction….The real power of this story is how Kim deals with the fact that the world is not what she had always thought; and her past—her parent’s past—is as profoundly complex and shocking as anything she could have imagined.” —Resource Links

“Craig…captures the arid but beautiful landscape and the White Afrikaner culture that developed this remote land. She makes the end of apartheid and the reconciliation efforts understandable to young readers, who may be motivated to learn more about this important time and place.” —Multicultural Review

Afrika is a powerful, moving novel…” —HI-RISE

“A compelling coming-of-age novel set against the vivid backdrop of South Africa…”—Curriculum Connections, School Library Journal


Length: 240 pp
Setting: South Africa
Period: contemporary

World rights, Tundra Books
Macedonian rights, Vermilion Zim Doo
Serbian rights, Kreativni Centar

For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.

    Born and raised in western Canada, Colleen Craig studied creative writing at the University of British Columbia. She then lived in South Africa during the 1980s and observed apartheid firsthand. In 1991 she moved back to Canada and settled in Toronto where she continued her career as a playwright. In 1997 she became a Stott Pilates teacher and in 2001 began to publish the bestselling Pilates on the Ball series which has been translated into six languages. Afrika is her first novel.