10 African books to read!

Updated: Sep 5, 2020


African authors are writing some great reads for any one to enjoy. Here is a list of 10 African books to read, in no particular order! Also check out our #ReadingAfricaChallenge to read a book from every African country!

Born a Crime | Trevor Noah

The compelling, inspiring, (often comic) coming-of-age story of Trevor Noah, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.​

An engaging, fast-paced and vivid read . . . Essential reading not only because it is a personal story of survival, leavened with insight and wit, but because it does more to expose apartheid - its legacy, its pettiness, its small-minded stupidity and its damage - than any other recent history book or academic text - Guardian

Black Moses | Alain Mabanckou

It's 1970, and in the People's Republic of Congo a Marxist-Leninist revolution is ushering in a new age. But over at the orphanage on the outskirts of Pointe-Noire where young Moses has grown up, the revolution has only strengthened the reign of terror of Dieudonné Ngoulmoumako, the institution's corrupt director. So Moses escapes to Pointe-Noire, where he finds a home with a larcenous band of Congolese Merry Men and among the Zairian prostitutes of the Trois-Cents quarter. But the authorities won't leave Moses in peace, and intervene to chase both the Merry Men and the Trois-Cents girls out of town. All this injustice pushes poor Moses over the edge. Could he really be the Robin Hood of the Congo? Or is he just losing his marbles?

Black Moses is a larger-than-life comic tale of a young man obsessed with helping the helpless in an unjust world. It is also a vital new extension of Mabanckou's extraordinary, interlinked body of work dedicated to his native Congo, and confirms his status as one of our great storytellers.

The Hairdresser of Harare | Tendai Huchu

What happens when the good-looking, smooth-talking Dumisani joins Khumalo Hair and Beauty Treatment Salon and puts the queen Vimbai's nose out of joint? Surely she is making a big mistake welcoming him into her house and becoming his landlady? The easy ambiguity of this deepening friendship collapses in unexpected brutality when secrets and jealousies are exposed. Written with delightful humour and a penetrating eye The Hairdresser of Harare is a novel that will touch and tickle you in equal measure.

Americanah | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

As teenagers in Lagos, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are fleeing the country if they can. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America. There she suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.

Thirteen years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a blogger. But after so long apart and so many changes, will they find the courage to meet again, face to face?

Fearless, gripping, spanning three continents and numerous lives, the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning ‘Americanah’ is a richly told story of love and expectation set in today’s globalized world.

The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela | Sahm Venter & Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela

While incarcerated in South Africa as a sentenced prisoner between 1962 and 1990, Nelson Mandela wrote hundreds of letters to loved ones, followers, prison authorities and government officials documenting his plight as the most prominent political prisoner of the twentieth century. Organised chronologically and divided by the four jails in which he was imprisoned, approximately 250 selected letters many of them never before seen by the public have been assembled here from the collections held by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the South African National Archives and the Mandela family, amongst others, together with a foreword by Mandela's granddaughter.

Long Walk to Freedom | Nelson Mandela

The famously taciturn South African president reveals much of himself in Long Walk to Freedom. A good deal of this autobiography was written secretly while Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years on Robben Island by South Africa's apartheid regime. Among the book's interesting revelations is Mandela's ambivalence toward his lifetime of devotion to public works. It cost him two marriages and kept him distant from a family life he might otherwise have cherished. Long Walk to Freedom also discloses a strong and generous spirit that refused to be broken under the most trying circumstances--a spirit in which just about everybody can find something to admire. - Amazon.com

We Should all be feminists | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In this personal, eloquently argued essay adapted from her much-admired Tedx talk of the same name Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

Things Fall Apart | Chinua Achebe

Okonowo is the greatest warrior alive. His fame has spread like a bushfire in West Africa and he is one of the most powerful men of his clan. But he also has a fiery temper. Determined not to be like his father, he refuses to show weakness to anyone - even if the only way he can master his feelings is with his fists. When outsiders threaten the traditions of his clan, Okonowo takes violent action. Will the great man's dangerous pride eventually destroy him?

African Psycho | Alain Mabanckou

Gregoire Nakobomayo, a petty criminal, has decided to kill his girlfriend Germaine. He's planned the crime for some time, but still, the act of murder requires a bit of psychological and logistical preparation. Luckily, he has a mentor to call on, the far more accomplished serial killer Angoualima. The fact that Angoualima is dead doesn't prevent Gregoire from holding lengthy conversations with him. Little by little, Gregoire interweaves Angoualima's life and criminal exploits with his own.

Continuing with the plan despite a string of botched attempts, Gregoire's final shot at offing Germaine leads to an abrupt unravelling. Lauded in France for its fresh and witty style, African Psycho's inventive use of language surprises and relieves the reader by sending up this disturbing subject.

The Fortunes of Africa | Martin Meredith

In this vast and vivid panorama of history, Martin Meredith, bestselling author of The State of Africa, follows the fortunes of Africa over a period of 5,000 years. With compelling narrative, he traces the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms and empires; the spread of Christianity and Islam; the enduring quest for gold and other riches; the exploits of explorers and missionaries; and the impact of European colonisation. He examines, too, the fate of modern African states and concludes with a glimpse into their future. This is history on an epic scale.

Thank you for checking out our list. Do you agree with this list? Are there other books by African authors that should be on this list?

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Check out the #ReadingAfricaChallenge

All book summaries/excerpts taken from Amazon.co.uk


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