- Created: 13 February 2014
Simao Luyikumu Kikamba was born in northern Angola in 1966 in the middle of liberation war against the Portuguese colonialists. At the age of two, riding on his mother's back, Kikamba immigrated to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire) with his parents. He attended primary and high school at the Catholic Mission of Kisantu (south-west of Kinshasa ), where they had settled, and went on to obtain a Bachelor degree in education at the ISP Mbanza-Ngungu University College , majoring in English and African Culture.
After a short stint as teacher of English and Sociology at high-school level, Kikamba returned to Angola in 1992 in the wake of the signing of the Bicesse peace accord between the government and UNITA, which ended nearly twenty years of civil war. In 1994, upon the resumption of the armed conflict, he fled Angola for South Africa, where he sought political asylum.
Kikamba's debut novel Going Home, published by Kwela Books in 2005, was based on these events and on his experience as a black immigrant in South Africa. The book won the Herman Charles Bosman award for English fiction in 2006 and has received acclaim and good reviews.
Kikamba tasted literature from an early age as the only form of entertainment he knew growing up was story-telling around a fire in the evening, television and radio being luxuries for his peasant family. Having lived in exile for most of his life, Kikamba considers his writing as a journey of self-discovery in his constant search for an identity. In her review of Going Home, Karen Whitty noted Kikamba's “ability to tell it as it is”, while finding his style “engaging as it is poised.”
Simao Kikamba lives and works in Johannesburg .
Going Home, Kwela Books, 2005