The 10 Coolest Books on African Culture

African culture is very diverse, beautiful, and it can be shocking sometimes. African ethnicity is extremely complicated. According to rough estimates, the continent has about 50 nations and nationalities, and 3 thousand different tribes speaking a thousand languages.

There are so many interesting books by African writers. If you are interested in African culture, here is a top 10 best novels about Africa.

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

In his book, Mandela talks about his early life, adulthood, getting education and 27 years spent in prison. In times of apartheid, Mandela was considered as a terrorist and was imprisoned on Robben Island for participating in ANC activities. Since then, he has achieved international recognition for uniting the people of South Africa. The last chapters of the book describe the political ascent and the belief that the struggle against apartheid is continuing. Mandela dedicated the book to his children.

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Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The next, one of Africa’s best books is about the love of a professor’s son Obinze and ambitious Ifemelu, who went to study to the US and became a writer there. After the events of September 11, 2001, Obinze, unable to obtain a visa to the United States, moved to London. After experiencing a long separation, lovers meet in Nigeria. The work has been awarded two times – the Chicago Tribune Prize in the category “Fiction” and the Prize of the National Circle of Book Critics in the category “Fiction.”

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Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

The novel is about the colonial past and the present day of the independent African state. The process of breaking the traditional way of the African community, the attempts of the British colonial administration to unite the original people for the “benefits of civilization” is shown in a bright and fascinating way. National problems cannot be solved by means inherited from the colonialists – this is the main idea of the novel, for which the author received the International Booker Prize in 2007.

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So Long A Letter by Mariama Bâ

The novel reveals the difficult problems facing the young African state: the relationship between progress and civilization with national traditions, cities and rural areas, wealth and poverty. This book is one of the best-written works, concerning Africancultural history.

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Sleepwalking Land by Mia Couto

The novel “Somnambulic Land” was included in the list of 12 best African books compiled by the team of leading African experts and public figures. And, with the presentation of the Coutu Neustadt Prize for 2014, we can talk about the world recognition of the writer. His book has been translated into several languages and published in more than 20 countries.

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Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz

The Cairo Trilogy turned Mahfouz into the most famous prose writer of the Arab world. It brought the author international fame. Naguib Mahfouz won the Nobel Prize for Literature. After reading this masterpiece, you may also want to become a writer! And, will help you with this uneasy, but interesting business. Mahfouz one of the greatest Egyptian and African writers.

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The Zulu People: As They Were Before the White Man Came by Alfred Thomas Bryant

The classical ethnographic work of an English scientist and missionary who lived in South Africa for about 50 years. It is dedicated to the people of Zulu, its history, traditional life, customs, beliefs and customs, based on ethnographic, historical and linguistic data collected in the field. His travel to Africa has changed his life completely.

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A Grain of Wheat by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

In the novel, the author tells about the struggle of Kenyans for their independence, and about modern Kenya, torn apart by antagonistic class contradictions. The story is about true love and real friendship, and rebellion, of course, as the only way to become independent.

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Aké: The Years of Childhood by Akinwande Oluwole “Wole” Soyinka

The greatest fame to Wole Soyinka was brought, perhaps, by his dramatic works, which represent a fusion of a talentedly reinterpreted European tradition and African folklore. In 1986, Soyinka was the first African writer who received the Nobel Prize for Literature “for creating a theater of a large cultural perspective and poetry.” He devoted his Nobel lecture to Nelson Mandela.

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The Famished Road by Ben Okri

The dreams of the Nigerians are inhabited by the creatures that never come to the dreams of the white people. The road along which Okri goes will seem to any of the Europeans a whirlpool inhabited by double-headed spirits. Literature of the XX century was monopolized by Latin Americans. At the beginning of the XXI century, we will have to get used to African names.

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Thanks to Bryan Davis for this guest blog. Bryan works at

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