The 10 Coolest Books on African Culture

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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

4 Brilliant Leon Uris Books

By | Authors, Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
book of the month
Leon Uris (3rd August, 1924 – June 21, 2003) was an American author of historical fiction who wrote many bestselling books. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Uris was the son of Jewish American parents Wolf William and Anna Uris. His father was a Polish born immigrant, his mother a first generation Russian American.

Uris was six years old when he was first recognised for his literary skills when he wrote an operetta inspired by the death of his dog. He would go on to write many bestselling works, based around major political and historic events. Today we’re going to recommend four books you may like to try. Read More

FRA Readers’ Choice Top 20: August

By | Hit of the Lits!, Literature | No Comments
book of the month
Those who have been around a while will remember our Hit of the Lits feature, a top 20 of the books you’ve loved in the previous month. Well on popular request we’re giving this feature a reboot with a new name and a new layout.

Last month we created a poll in our reading group The Cwts, and that poll has run all month giving you the chance to add your favourite read from the last thirty days. With July now over we have our top 20 for August and here it is, the readers’ choice top 20 for August.

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Obama Reveals What He’s Been Reading Prior to Visiting Africa

By | Discussion and Recommendations, News, Reading Habits | No Comments
book of the month
For the first time since he left office, the former President of the United States, Barack Obama, has returned to Africa where he spent time in both Kenya (his ancestral home) and South Africa. There he met 200 young leaders from all over the continent and made a speech to commemorate the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela.

Prior to his visit, Obama published a post on his official Facebook page where he wrote about his love for his ancestral home, and revealed what books he’s been reading in the build up to his trip. As you would expect, the books are from and about the continent of Africa and show what a diverse, historic, sometimes troubled, but also extraordinary continent it is. Not only has Obama recommended the books, but also provided a quick insight as to why he found them interesting. Read More

Sense8, Bookshops and Some Reading Recommendations

By | Discussion and Recommendations, Television | No Comments
book of the month
Is anyone else really sad that Sense8 is over? The Netflix show was a science-fiction drama created by Lana and Lilly Wachowski (of Matrix fame) following the lives of eight strangers from around the world linked by a sense of mental and emotional telepathy.

While a science fiction show, the series was very grounded in real issues such as race, sex, gender, and religion featuring a multi-national cast, various sexualities and a transgender character, played by a transgender actor (yay!).

I absolutely loved it, and I know much of the team did too and brilliant storylines aside, I loved the fact that Amanita, played by Freema Agyeman worked at the City Lights Bookstore, meaning it was featured in various episodes. And if you were hanging out for more bookstore references there was a second one with a mention for Shakespeare and Co in the finale too! Read More

George R.R. Martin Gives Us His Book Recommendations

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book of the month
George R.R. Martin has shot to fame in recent years after his gritty fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire was adapted into a TV show by HBO. Called Game of Thrones, the series has become one of the biggest shows on TV and has helped newcomers discover Martin’s equally great novels. Game of Thrones‘ final season is set to air next year, but we’re still eagerly waiting for the next installment in the Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter. If you can’t wait for the next book, then why not check out this list of books Martin has recommended?

As the New York Public Library reports, Martin has given us not one, but two lists of books he feels we should read, fantasy and general fiction, so there should be something for everyone here.

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Barack Obama Shares What Books He’s Been Reading

By | Discussion and Recommendations, Political, Reading Habits | No Comments
book of the month
It’s always interesting to learn what other people are reading, even more so when they happen to have been one of the most powerful people on the planet. If you’ve been wondering what former US President Barack Obama has been reading since he left office then you’re in luck. As Harper’s Bazaar reports, Obama recently took to his official Facebook page to share what he’s been reading.

“I’m often asked what I’m reading, watching, and listening to, so I thought I might share a short list from time to time,” he wrote. There’s so much good writing and art and variety of thought out there these days that this is by no means comprehensive – like many of you, I’ll miss The Americans – but here’s what I’ve been reading lately. It’s admittedly a slightly heavier list than what I’ll be reading over the summer.” Read More

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