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The 5 African Books You Need To Read

Books are the most important piece of human civilization as we know it. They preserve culture, record history, create spaces, and restructure minds. In celebration of International Book Day yesterday, Radr has compiled a list of 5 books from all over Africa that you simply need to read. These books are filled with delightful, sad and shocking stories that will chase a reader over every hill of emotion.

  1. Things Fall Apart- Chinua Achebe

An African classic, the book depicts pre-colonial life in the southeastern part of Nigeria and the arrival of colonialists during the late 19th century.The novel follows the life of Okonkwo, an Igbo man and local wrestling champion in the fictional Nigerian clan of Umuofia and the effects on colonialism on their lives and practices.

  1. Weep Not Child- Ngūgī wa Thiong’o

The book follows the story of Njoroge, a young boy, who is urged to attend school by his mother. His family is plagued by trauma from world war ii, oppression and the trampling of their rights. The book looks at the issue of oppression and the fight for freedom from different facets.

  1. The Famished Road- Ben Okri

Azaro is an abiku, or spirit-child, living in the ghetto of an unknown city in Africa. He is constantly harassed by his sibling spirits from another world who want him to leave this mortal life and return to the world of spirits, sending many emissaries to bring him back. However, Azaro has stubbornly refused to leave this life owing to his love for his mother and father. Instead he stays and witnesses many mortal occurrences. Okri blurs the lines between the real world and the spirit world impeccably in this book.

  1. Purple Hibiscus- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

This powerful story follows the life of Kambili and her family. Under the thumb of an abusive but wealthy father that suppresses the spirits of everyone in the family, she finds friends, light, love and freedom.

  1. Homegoing- Yaa Gyasi

This historical fiction book follows the lives and descendants of two sisters. Each chapter in the novel follows a different descendant of an Asante woman named Maame, starting with her two daughters, who are half-sisters, separated by circumstance: One became a slave while the other became a slave owner’s wife.

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Betty Godson