Top 10 Books on Africa

 

Africa is the second largest continent and the second most populated in the world (the first in Asia in both categories). Approximately 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles), including adjacent islands, cover 6% of the total land area and 20.4% of the total area. With 1.2 billion of people in 2016, it represents about 16% of the world’s human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, both the Suez Canal and the Red Sea along the Sinai Peninsula to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and several archipelagos. It contains 54 fully recognized sovereign states (countries), nine territories and two independent states with limited or no recognition. Most of the continent and its countries are in the northern hemisphere, with a substantial part and a number of countries in the southern hemisphere.

 

Long Walk to Freedom

The book that inspired the great new film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Nelson Mandela is one of the great political and moral leaders of our time: an international hero whose permanent dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa earned him the Nobel Peace and Presidency of his country. Since his triumphant release in 1990 of over a quarter of a century in prison, Mandela has been at the centre of the most gripping and inspiring political drama in the world. As president of the African National Congress and head of the South African anti-apartheid movement, he played a decisive role in the nation's movement towards the multiracial government and majority domination. It is revered everywhere as a vital force in the struggle for human rights and racial equality.

Read it For:
The writing is clear, measured and direct, although it is littered with fragments of Harvard English that are supposedly due to the American (uncredited) ghostwriter of Mandela, Richard Stengel.
Don't Read it For:
This book is too long around 700+ pages
What makes this book stand out?:
LONG WALK TO FREEDOM is his moving and emotional autobiography, destined to take its place among the best memories of the greatest figures in history. Here, for the first time, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela tells the extraordinary story of his life: an epic of struggle, withdrawal, renewed hope and final triumph.

A Good Man in Africa

In the small African Republic of Kinjanja, British diplomat Morgan Leafy works hard in his work. His love for women, his passion for drinks and his hatred of the country are formidable obstacles on his way to any kind of success. But when he becomes operational in the Kingpin operation and is in charge of controlling his favourite candidate in the national elections of Kinjanja, Morgan feels the opportunity to get a real professional recognition and, above all, a reassignment. After being blackmailed, diagnosed with a venereal disease, attempted corruption and confused with a corpse, Morgan realizes that very little is going according to plan.

Read it For:
The book is full of humour and suspense.
Don't Read it For:
This is the debut book of Willian Boyd so the imperfection can be forgiven.
What makes this book stand out?:
It is a debut book of William Boyd, and this book has won Whitbread Award for First Novel (1981) and Somerset Maugham Award (1982) award.

The Memory of Love

In contemporary Sierra Leone, a devastating civil war left a whole population with secrets to keep. In the hospital of the capital, a talented young surgeon is tormented by demons who are beginning to threaten their livelihood. In another part of the hospital, there is a dying man who was young during the turbulent post-colonial years of the country and has stories to tell that are anything but heroic. While the past and the present intersect in the bustling city, these men feel involuntarily closer to a well-meaning British psychologist, and in the path of a woman at the centre of their stories.

Read it For:
The Memory of Love is an impressive story of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, superbly executed and wonderfully written, horrible and stimulating, unbreakable and tender, moving and uplifting.
Don't Read it For:
The prolixity of the book, coupled with scenes that creep or come out as forced, certainly does not ruin the experience, but sometimes saturates what amounts to an encouraging cry of moral responsibility in the midst of an exasperating injustice.
What makes this book stand out?:
A work of dazzling writing and rare wisdom, The memory of love perfectly intertwines two generations of African life to create a history of loss, the absolution and the indelible effects of the past and, in the end, the true nature of love.

The Famished Road

The narrator, Azaro, is an abiku, a spiritual child, who exists in the Yoruba tradition of Nigeria between life and death. The life he imagines for him and the story he tells is full of sadness and tragedy, but inexplicably they are born with a smile on his face. Almost recalled to the land of the dead, he rose again. But in their efforts to save their son, Azaro's loving parents become destitute. The tensions between the land of the living, with its violence and political struggles, and the temptations of the careless realm of the spirits guide this Lazarus story of the last days.

Read it For:
This book is a deadly combination of humour as well as motivation.
Don't Read it For:
After some chapters, the descriptive becomes too strange and too changeable.
What makes this book stand out?:
In the decade since winning the Booker Prize, Ben Okri's Famished Road has become a classic. Like Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie or One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, he combines brilliant narrative technique with a new vision to create an essential piece of world literature.
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The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

Mma Ramotswe is the first detective in Botswana and is going to show that women can do as well as any man. In a cartoon style, Mma Ramotswe tells us not only about her cases but also about her father's life in Botswana, in the mines of Johannesburg and his death. He also transmits his judgments when he discovers the remains of a dead man, challenges the fidelity of a wandering husband and determines the case of the inept doctor

Read it For:
Smith remains constant in MMA. Ramotswe's point of view in most of the book: simple sentences, short words and a rare vision of Africa that Ramotswe often adds to remind the reader that it is not as simple as you think.
Don't Read it For:
What is lacking in Smith is the ability to draw a topic or unique characters. This story is actually a collection of stories closely related to the environment and the main character. Suggesting to have a plot is ridiculous. There is no climax; there is no central theme to carry forward.
What makes this book stand out?:
The female detective agency no. 1 received two special recommendations from the judges and was chosen as one of the international books of the year and by the Times millennium literary supplement.

Disgrace

Set in South Africa after apartheid, the novel by J. M. Coetzee tells the story of David Lurie, a professor of communication and romantic poetry divorced twice at the Technical University of the Cape. Lurie believes he has created a comfortable life for him, even if a little dispassionate. He lives in his financial and emotional means. Although her position in the university has been reduced, she diligently teaches her classes; and although age has diminished its appeal, weekly visits to a prostitute satisfy their sexual needs. He considers himself happy. But when Lurie seduces one of her students, she sets in motion a chain of events that will shatter her complacency and leave him completely in disgrace

Read it For:
The novel is both ruthless and compassionate (it is not an easy combination to get), and it is also incisive in its description of the changing world in South Africa.
Don't Read it For:
This book contains sexual content in it
What makes this book stand out?:
Disgrace remains one of his most popular and most read works. He also made the big screen recently in a critically acclaimed film adaptation with John Malkovich.

Heart of Darkness

The obscure allegory describes the narrator's journey across the Congo River and his encounter with, and the charm of, Mr Kurtz, a mysterious character who dominates the rebel inhabitants of the region. A masterful combination of adventure, character development, psychological penetration. Considered by the best and most enigmatic story of Conrad.

Read it For:
First of all, understand this: Heart of Darkness is one of those classics you should read if you want to consider yourself a cultured adult.
Don't Read it For:
In reality, it is very dense, difficult to read, with long paragraphs and endless metaphors. The bizarre dialogue has also been included in a large and voluminous paragraph.
What makes this book stand out?:
This classic novel tells the story of an Englishman sent to Africa on behalf of a Belgian trading company as captain of a riverboat. The novel represents the "darkness" of European colonization and the cruel treatment of the colonizers of the African natives, as well as that of the Congo desert and of human beings in general

Around Africa on My Bicycle

Cycling an average of 90 km a day, often in extreme conditions on gravel roads and sand badly managed, thrown into prison in Equatorial Guinea by aggressive border and drunken policemen, and in the face of possible deaths if taken as hostages by rebellious teenagers Liberian drug addicts have a conventional idea of ​​"living" really, but, in November 2003, Riaan Manser left Cape Town, determined to become the first person to circumnavigate Africa by bicycle. He thought it would take a year; it took more than two. At the end of 2005, he returned by bicycle to Cape Town, weighing 14 kg and covering 36 500 km in thirty-four countries. With the intention of using her journey to generate local and international awareness of the often frightening standard of living in Africa, Riaan was also driven by a strong desire for an African adventure, a desire that inevitably came true. While Riaan's journey allowed him to experience the greater generosity and kindness he had known, often from the poorest of the poor, his adventures were often also of the most distressing kind. In Around Africa on my bike, Riaan allows the reader to relive the work, the excitement and the occasional terror of the trip: negotiating the deserts of the Sahara and Libya, learning French, Portuguese and Arabic, eating monkey, mouse and bat, standing in front of the pyramids, having been awarded the freedom of the Red Sea in Egypt, feeding the hyenas mouth and standing at the highest points, as well as the lowest, in Africa. Riaan arrived safe and sound in Cape Town on 25 November 2005.

Read it For:
The book realistically describes the daily struggles encountered, the frightening and dangerous situations and to a certain extent the amount of determination required.
Don't Read it For:
Sometimes it was exciting, but sometimes profoundly frustrating.
What makes this book stand out?:
The book contains some of the best anecdotes I read in a bicycle tourism book. His description of life in each visited country offers an honest and vivid description of Africa. The end result - a bicycle circumnavigation of Africa - is certainly one of the great achievements of any adventurer or explorer.

When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa

After his father's heart attack in 1984, Peter Godwin began a series of pilgrimages to Zimbabwe, his homeland, from Manhattan, where he now lives. In these frequent visits to check out his elderly parents, he witnessed the dramatic spiral of Zimbabwe towards the jaws of violent chaos, presided over by an increasingly enraged dictator. Yet, long after their comfortable lifestyle has collapsed and millions have fled, their parents refuse to leave, stuck in their loyalty to the failed state that has been their foster home for fifty years. After that Godwin discovers a shocking family secret that explains his loyalty. Africa was her father's sanctuary of another identity, another world.

Read it For:
An extremely well-written story about family, identity and what we owe, in the context of Zimbabwe and the Mugabe dictatorship.
Don't Read it For:
Disturbing content was added to this book.
What makes this book stand out?:
WHEN A CROCODILE EATS THE SUN is a moving reminder of the disintegration of a family against the collapse of a country. But it is also a vivid portrayal of the profound power of the human spirit and the lasting strength of love.

The Story of an African Farm

This was Schreiner's historical novel set in the rural Karoo at the turn of the last century. It was radical because of loose feminism and the negative analysis of the social structures that laid the foundations of its colonial society.

Read it For:
This book has great writing, with an excellent story. It is also tormented by numerous pages that may have been omitted.
Don't Read it For:
The title of the novel is not misleading, exactly, but not entirely accurate. It is not the story of a farm. It is the story of a group of people living on an African farm.
What makes this book stand out?:
A classic story of 19th-century rural life in South Africa is a stinging accusation of rigid Boer social conventions. The first of the great South African novels tells the adventures of three childhood friends who challenge social repression. The unorthodox views of the romance and marriage novel aroused wide controversy over his 1883 publication, and the work remained in power more than a century later.

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