So you think you know African perspectives? Well, great if you do. What we know often depends hugely on who we learn it from- a good reason why many Africans do not feel comfortable learning their own history from other race. In Malcolm X words, “Only a fool would let his enemy teach his children.” Many Gen Z African diaspora do not know a trustable source to turn to in learning their history. They rely on the world of internet and media, and with this comes higher a percentage of error. This post, on this reputable Afro-diaspora platform, I add to the body of existing sound knowledge that African youths and folks outside of Black community can consult to gain African perspectives. Highlighting African literature, I review some books that add meaning to Africa as a continent, and that widens the scope of Black struggles against imperialism.
The 7 books below are the beginner’s guide for every African or black person that wants to reconnect to the motherland. I’m cognizant of the fact many black people don’t read. Growing up, I was told that if you want to hide something from a black person, put it in a book. I don’t know how true this is, but I know quite a number of people who don’t like reading books. The truth, however, is that quality information especially on history are buried in books and many are housed in the libraries. If you rely only on watching what you know through YouTube only, you need a woke. Now, let’s take a look at the 7 Books that add meaning to Africa’s journey in the beginner’s guide to African perspectives.
1.Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart is quite an easy choice. I personally love this book and it is one of the best books I have read, if not the best. Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian author. The book talks about the Igbo community; their popular yam festival, and the influence of the colonialists on the culture of the Igbo community. During the precolonial era, Okwonkwo is to be installed as the leader of his tribe and all the seven villages. Okonkwo is thrilled because he would have many women to marry at his disposal, and have a huge chunks of land. The arrival of the British colonialists quashes all the plans and Okwonkwo kills himself and takes control of his own destiny. The author of Things Fall Apart is African, the book is set in Africa and everything in the book is African.
2.A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
Ngugi wa Thiong’o a Kenyan writer in his book A Grain of Wheat he talks about how Kenya struggled for Independence against the British colonial rule. It is a fact that Independence and colonialism are a part and parcel of African history. The book talks about the events that took place before and during Independence. The novel is not an easy one to read at the beginning, but you will get used to it as it progresses. The confusing part of the novel is the switch between the past and the present by the author.
3.Women of ALGIERS IN THEIR APARTMENT by Assia Djebar
The novel spans the years 1958-1979 a period when Algeria fought for its independence from the French. The novel is a voice for the women of Algeria during pre-colonial and post-colonial times. Djebar explains how the Algerian woman felt neglected by the colonialists and denied their human rights. If you are a feminist then you will really like this book.
4.From A Crooked Rib by Nuruddin Farah
Nuruddin Farah, a Somali novelist, in his book, talks about the struggles of a woman with much vigor to the extent that when he sent the book to the publisher, the publisher thought Nuruddin, the author, was a woman. The book explains the struggle of women in the Somali community using the narrative of a young woman that was strapped in an unhappy marriage. The title of the book comes from a Somali proverb that says “ God created women from a crooked rib and anyone who tries to straighten it, breaks it.”
5.Burger’s Daughter by Nadine Gordimer
Nadime Gordimer, a South African writer, and a political activist. In her book Burger’s daughter, she talks about the struggles of anti-apartheid group members. Nadime as an anti-apartheid activist she has faced several racism issues that she writes all about in this book. If you want to learn more about the apartheid regime in South Africa then this book is worth your time.
6.Know The Beginning Well by K.Y. AMOAKO
If you are looking for a book that will help you unravel the economic history of Africa then this is my number one recommendation. The best way to unravel and learn more about the future of Africa is first to learn about its past. The Ghanaian writer in his book gives insights into Africa’s development journey spread across five decades having been there the entire journey. The book relies on some landmark of people, policies, and institutions that have shaped the future of Africa.
7. Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Long Walk to Freedom was written by Nelson Mandela, the first black South African President, and anti-apartheid activist. The book talks about his early life, adulthood, education, and the 24 years he spent in prison. This book is recommended if you want to learn more about a great African leader, Nelson Mandela.
Your turn: Fam, I hope you enjoyed the recommendations. Have you read any of the mentioned books? Let us know in the comment section below. Are there other African books that add meaning to Africa that we need to know but did not make it to this list? Please let us also know in the comment section.