Popular Books on Africa

 

Africa is the world’s second-largest continent with a vast history, the range of art, different dimensions of culture.  The wildlife and nature in Africa are so rich that a hundred books could not do justice to its variety.

 

Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart is a novel written by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe in 1958. The story focuses on Pre and post-colonial life of residents of Umuofia village through the eyes of Okonkwo.

Read it For:
It tells the story of an African Villager affected personally by colonization while facing his own personal problems.
Don't Read it For:
Okonkwo as a protagonist, doesn’t let the story cover a larger extent of the effect of colonization, as it could only be seen from his perspective.
What makes this book stand out?:
It is an archetypal modern of African novel in English, and is also one of the few first to receive global recognition. This is a worthy read on the list of books on Africa.

Half of the Yellow Sun

This is a novel written by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The novel tells the story of Nigeria before and during the Nigerian civil war (1967-70)

Read it For:
You’ll get to learn about the effect of Biafran war on local people.
Don't Read it For:
The novel is not just a history lesson but comes with character’s narrative, but this book does not give the account of every historical or political event.
What makes this book stand out?:
It is a tale of loyalty and betrayal . It also tells about the relation of academia with everyday life in Africa.

The Power of African Culture

This book is written by Toyin Falola, and it focuses on the modern cultures of Africa which came to light with the imposition of western power to the struggle of defining national identity in the context of globalization. The book also challenges the western stereotypes towards Africa.

Read it For:
The book stands stern with the thought that Africa has defined the notion of identity for itself, evolved with the change against the foreign influences.
Don't Read it For:
The book also follows the elements of violence in the country.
What makes this book stand out?:
The book also follows the elements of violence in the country.

A Contemporary study of Musical Arts: Illuminations. Reflections and Explorations

This book is by Meki Nzewi and Odyke Nzewi. It discusses African generic musical arts at substructural level.

Read it For:
This series emphasizes the intellectual aspect of cultural knowledge. The book is a mixture of philosophical, psychological foundation of creativity which explains African arts and music briefly.
Don't Read it For:
The book only gives the knowledge of arts at tertiary level, to understand more other volumes of the book should be read thoroughly.
What makes this book stand out?:
This book claims that the creativity, nature, and art are derived originally from the African perspective of about sensitivity and meaning of music. This book is one of the best books on Africa.
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King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa

This is a bestselling historical book by Adam Hochschild. The book explores the exploitation faced by Congo Free State by King Leopold II of Belgium between 1885 and 1908. The story also tells of the barbarousness and atrociousness faced by Congo Free State which is also referred as “Congo Horrors.”

Read it For:
The book along with its content is known for its literary style
Don't Read it For:
The book also tells the story of violence such as of rape and sexual slavery.
What makes this book stand out?:
Even after being rejected by 9 of U.S. publishing companies the book became a bestseller and won Mark Lynton History Prize and Duff Cooper Prize.

The Scramble for Africa: The White Man’s Conquest of the Dark Continent from 1876 to 1912

This book by Thomas Pakenham talks about the colonization of Africa by Europeans.  The book juxtaposes the motives of leading figures like David Livingstone, King Leopold II in southern Africa.

Read it For:
The book tells about the occupational division and colonization of African territory by European power between 1881 and 1914.
Don't Read it For:
The book is said to be based on primary sources without critical analysis.
What makes this book stand out?:
The book teaches about Partition of Africa or Conquest of Africa. The book also has details of famous battles and short wars that took place during the conquest of Africa.

African Art

This book by Frank Willett presents a deep collection of images of African art. This book reveals the astonishing variety and expressive power of African continent, which has a most distinct variety of people, culture, and art. There is mention of certain African art genres which are almost forgotten.

Read it For:
To learn about the substantial impact of African art on twentieth-century Western art on painters like Picasso, making it one of the most popular books on Africa
Don't Read it For:
There is no mention of political context, or about how art is displayed in cities. The book is also considered to be too small to explain a descriptive form of African Arts.
What makes this book stand out?:
The images include masks, sculptures and much more by many different tribes.

Healing Wisdom of Africa: Finding Life Purpose Through Nature, Ritual, and Community

This book by Malidome Patrice talks about the life of indigenous and traditional people with the intimate relationship they share with the natural world both which surrounds us and is within us.

Read it For:
The book tells about the role of rituals for African people.
Don't Read it For:
Those readers who are not interested in spirituality, would not be satisfied with this book.
What makes this book stand out?:
The book is calming and the author has depicted everything beautifully which is relatable.

Nelson Mandela’s Favourite African Folklore

This book by Nelson Mandela consists of old and new stories which Mandela didn’t want the young generation to forget.

Read it For:
Several stories tell about the myths and creatures of Africa, it is surely one of the 10 best-selling books on Africa you should read.
Don't Read it For:
Several stories tell about the myths and creatures of Africa, it is surely one of the 10 best-selling books on Africa you should read.
What makes this book stand out?:
Most of the stories in the book are considered to be as old as Africa itself

African Perspective on Colonialism

This book by A. Adu Boahen describes the African history when whole Africa was seized with European power and enslaved under western rule.

Read it For:
The information in the book is packed with the refinement of both side of the arguments.
Don't Read it For:
You get to learn only from the perspective of colonized.
What makes this book stand out?:
It is a short book but is packed with great information. This is one of the best reads on the list of top 10 books on Africa.

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