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

FRA Readers’ Choice Top 20: October

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Another month has flown by and it’s time for a new Top 20. Each month we list your top 20 reads of the month, chosen by members of our reading group, The Cwts @ Reading Addicts.

This month we see the same book in the number 1 spot for a second month, it’s proven to be a massive bestseller and is now the top of our top 20 for two months running! Have you read any of the books below? We hope you enjoy the recommendations. Read More

FRA Readers’ Choice Top 20: September

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Another month has passed as the year races by and now we’re into September and if you’re looking for some reading suggestions then we have the FRA Top 20, chosen by members of our reading group, The Cwts @ Reading Addicts.

Every month we ask the group members to let us know what their favourite read was from the previous month. Those results are then collated, giving us a top 20 recommended reads for the following month. Here’s September!  Read More

Obama Shares What He’s Been Reading This Summer

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It’s always interesting to know what any public figure has been reading lately, but even more so when that public figure also happens to have been the 44th President of the United States. Every so often, Barack Obama takes to his official Facebook page to let us know what he’s been reading and what he’d recommend.

Obama published a post on Sunday evening detailing five books, both fiction and non-fiction, that he’s been reading over the Summer. “One of my favorite parts of summer is deciding what to read when things slow down just a bit, whether it’s on a vacation with family or just a quiet afternoon,” he wrote. “This summer I’ve been absorbed by new novels, revisited an old classic, and reaffirmed my faith in our ability to move forward together when we seek the truth. Here’s what I’ve been reading: Read More

4 Brilliant Leon Uris Books

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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

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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

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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

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