Books have the strong effect of transporting readers to new dimensions, offering an intimate view of far-off worlds and an opportunity to learn.
So what better way to spend the weekend than with books written by African writers.
Here are five such books.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Hilarious, personal and deeply insightful, this childhood memoir by South African comedian, Trevor Noah, is an engaging book that will flood you with different emotions. The book is also set to be produced for the big screen, starring award-winning Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o.
Synopsis: Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.
Fresh Water by Akwaeke Emezi
Akwaeke Emezi is one of the finest voices present in contemporary African literature. With her first novel, Fresh Water, Emezi proves her mettle with a story so distinctive and a style so powerful.
Synopsis: Ada begins her life in the south of Nigeria as a troubled baby and a source of deep concern to her family. Her parents, Saul and Saachi, successfully prayed her into existence, but as she grows into a volatile and splintered child, it becomes clear that something went terribly awry. When Ada comes of age and moves to America for college, the group of selves within her grows in power and agency. A traumatic assault leads to a crystallisation of her alternate selves: Asụghara and Saint Vincent. As she fades into the background of her own mind and these selves–now protective, now hedonistic–move into control, Ada’s life spirals in a dark and dangerous direction.
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin
It is nearly impossible to read Lola Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives and not keel over with laughter. The book, set in Ibadan, is hilarious, delightful and still deeply emotional.
Synopsis: For a polygamist like Baba Segi, his collection of wives and a gaggle of children are the symbol of prosperity, success and validation of his manhood. Everything runs reasonably smoothly in the patriarchal home until wife number four intrudes on this family romance. Bolanle, a graduate amongst the semi-literate wives, is hated from the start. Baba Segi’s glee at bagging a graduate doesn’t help matters. Worse, Bolanle’s arrival threatens to do more than simply ruffle feathers. She’s unwittingly set to expose a secret that her co-wives intend to protect, at all costs.
A Woman’s Body is a Country by Dami Ajayi
Dami Ajayi’s second collection of poetry contains sixty-eight short poems written in free verse. It is a body of work that is evocative and witty, underpinned with a poetic recounting of love and affection.
Synopsis: A Woman’s Body is a Country interrogates the ramifications of affection. A work of impressive artistry, these are poems of life turned inside out, where time cheats on writers, and the people and things at the brunt end of our oppressive pleasures come back to haunt us. Here is the poetry of the quotidian, a philosophic and profound interrogation of relationships, of words, of bodies and their burdens, of times and time.
Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
Ugandan writer, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, first novel, Kintu, has been hailed for its originality and innovation. Kintu is a vividly told story, rooted in African myths and history, this powerful book transports the writer to pre-colonial Uganda.
Synopsis: In 1750, Kintu Kidda unleashes a curse that will plague his family for generations. In this ambitious tale of a clan and of a nation, Makumbi weaves together the stories of Kintu’s descendants as they seek to break from the burden of their shared past and reconcile the inheritance of tradition and the modern world that is their future.
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