Samson Kambalu (born 1975) is a Malawi-born author who trained as a fine artist and ethnomusicologist at the University of Malawi's Chancellor College. His first book, The Jive Talker, was published in 2008 by Jonathan Cape in the UK and by Free Press in the USA.
Life and work
Samson Kambalu was born in Malawi, where he attended Kamuzu Academy, the so-called "Eton of Africa". He graduated from the University of Malawi's Chancellor College, Zomba in 1999, and completed his MA in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University in 2003.
Kambalu’s work originates from the Protestant tradition of inquiry, criticism, and rebellion that he inherited from a rapidly Christianising contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa of his childhood. Manifesting in various media, from drawing, painting, installation, video to literature and performance the work playfully employs excess, transgression, humour and wit to test the boundaries of received ideas regarding history, art, identity, religion and individual freedom.
The most well known of his artworks is Holy Ball, a football plastered in pages of the Bible. Kambalu held an exhibition of 24 "Holy Balls" at Chancellor College in 2000 at which he invited the visitors to “exercise and exorcise”. He has since shown his work internationally.
His first book, an autobiographical narrative entitled The Jive Talker or How to Get a British Passport, was published by Jonathan Cape (Random House) in July 2008, and in August 2008 by Free Press (Simon & Schuster). Kambalu lives and works in London.
2008 - The Jive Talker or, How to Get a British Passport. ISBN 0-224-08106-3
Notes and references
- Samson Kambalu's official website
- Random House
- Simon & Schuster
- Giles Foden "Good news from Africa", review of The Jive Talker in The Guardian, 23 August 2008.
- Susan Williams, "The Jive Talker, by Samson Kambalu - Portrait of the artist as a young African" (review), The Independent, 4 July 2008.