335 pp., paperback, Reprint, Johannesburg, (2014) 2019
A biography of Asad Abdullahi, forced into exile in 1991 at the age of eight after witnessing his mother's murder by Somali militiamen. Alone, he moved from country to country, mostly having to fend for himself. Eventually he made his way to Johannesburg, where he pursued s career as a shopkeeper in various townships. Jonny Steinberg met Asad in 2010, living with his wife and son in a displaced persons camp, victims of xenophobic violence in Khayelitsha and seeking refugee status in America. From interviews with Asad and with people in Europe and the United States who knew Asad's parents, from reports of nongovernmental organizations and international newspapers Jonny Steinberg pieced together Asad's story, placing it in the context of the Somali Diaspora.
"Through the remarkable tale of the truly astonishing character of Asad Abdullah, Steinberg returns all of us from the despair of distance to the dignity of brotherhood." Alexandra Fuller, author of "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight"
"A masterpiece. Steinberg has illuminated a modern African odyssey to brilliant effect." Martin Meredith, author of "The State of Africa"
"One of the most interesting things about 'A Man of Good Hope' is the insight it gives into this country’s Somali population. Steinberg writes about 'the thousands of lone entrepreneurs who have crossed SA’s borders since the end of apartheid...They do not want to make friends. They do not want to make SA their home. They want to make money. And that is what they do...I think it has something to do with looking 10 generations into the future and wondering what role you will have played in changing the lives of those who came after you...It’s what drove Asad to make many of the decisions he made, to plunge into the unknown. For him, to have lived a fully human life is to have radically altered the course of his family’s history." from an interview with the author by Penny How of Business Day
Jonny Steinberg was born and grew up in South Africa. He is the author of "Three Letter Plague", "Midlands" and "The Number". He has won the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award for non-fiction twice, and received the inaugural Windham Campbell Prize. He teaches African Studies and Criminology at Oxford University and is an Associate at the Institute for the Humanities (HUMA) at the University of Cape Town.