In Johannesburg, South Africa, two strangers, both of them from other countries, struggle to fulfill the dreams that urged them to leave home.
Osas puts what little he has into ascertaining the papers that will permit him to enter South Africa from his homeland of Nigeria, only to learn that life has dealt him another harsh blow. With no other prospects, he befriends a fellow countryman, a known criminal. Chamai, a Canadina-Zimbabwean has come to South Africa to further his education, but when his financial resources dry up, he turns to sex work to make enough money to eat.
In The Strangers of Braamfontein, Onyeka Nwelue pits the aspirations of those always striving for more against the realities of the immigrant experience.
About the Author
Onyeka Nwelue is a current Academic Visitor at the African Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. He is a filmmaker, publisher, and author whose Hip-Hop is Only for Children won the Creative Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the 2015 Nigerian Writers’ Awards. He adapted his novella Island of Happiness into an Igbo-language film, AgwaetitiObiụtọ, which won Best Feature Film by a Director at the 2018 Newark International Film Festival.
"Nwelue's wisdom....echoes the novels of Kurt Vonnegut."—Chigozie Obioma, author of The Fishermen and An Orchestra of Minorities
"A perceptive and vigorous tale of people trapped in dire circumstances."—Kirkus Reviews
"There is blood in Nwelue’s latest novel—lots of blood. This is not a book for anyone who flinches fast, the timorous, for it brims with bloodlust and bloodshed. And there is more sex, more drug, more death than you will find in any [other] novels. The book touches upon hope, too."—Uchechukwu Umezurike, Olongo Africa
"Offers real insight into the sordid end of the migrant experience, which has echoes in the current situation in Europe. . . . This is a pacy thriller, gritty and realistic. The Strangers of Braamfontein is like an A to Z of crime, a convincing snapshot of a chaotic world."—Paul Burke, CrimeFictionLover.com
"The very nature of the society held up for scrutiny limits the likelihood of literary attempts to describe it, and for no other reason this may be regarded as an important book. But beyond that, it furnishes a commentary on contemporary African life that strongly impels the reader to ponder how such dysfunction came about and what should be done to help the people who suffer from it."—Chris Roberts, Crime Review
"Nwelue depicts the stark realities of the dispossessed of an African city. One of the striking features of the novel is the pan-African array of characters who are drawn from various African nationalities: Nigeria, Malawi, the Congo, Zimbabwe, and many more."—Alesia Alexander, Brittle Paper
"[D]epravities rotate around murder, drugs, money, and sex, as Nwelue's foul pen recounts the disturbing details [however] The Strangers of Braamfontein [is] quite a timely piece of work amid Africa's deepening migrant crisis. . . . [and the] complex cast of characters in the book is evidence of remarkable talent and imagination."—Immanuel James Ibe-Anyanwu, Nigeria Abroad
"Nwelue tells us without fear or favour about post-Apartheid South Africa, where the after-effects of white supremacy are grim and terrible. . . . In this book, unfaithful lovers, corrupt policemen, bad citizens and minions without scruples roam like angels cast down from heaven."—Olukorede S. Yishau, The Lagos Review