The best 18 Africa books

Discover the rich and diverse continent of Africa with this meticulously curated book list. From its profound history and vibrant cultures to its pressing challenges and inspiring stories, these titles offer a comprehensive exploration of Africa's past, present, and future.
Embark on a journey through its breathtaking landscapes, meet its remarkable people, and gain a deeper understanding of the complexities and beauty of this extraordinary continent. Whether you're an avid traveler or a curious explorer, these books are a must-read.

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Africa Books: The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon

The Wretched of the Earth

Frantz Fanon
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What's The Wretched of the Earth about?

The Wretched of the Earth (2021) is a seminal work examining the psychological effects of colonialism and advocating for revolutionary struggle against racist and colonial oppression. It has profoundly influenced civil rights, anti-colonial, Black consciousness, and psychiatric reform movements globally since its publication in 1961.

Who should read The Wretched of the Earth?

  • Activists and organizers
  • Students and scholars
  • People who care about justice

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Africa Books: They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky by Benson Deng

They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky

Benson Deng
The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan

What's They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky about?

This book is a memoir that tells the harrowing story of three young boys who were forced to flee their homes in war-torn Sudan. They endure unimaginable hardships as they make their way to safety, facing starvation, disease, and violence along the way. It is a powerful account of resilience and the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

Who should read They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky?

  • Individuals interested in personal stories of resilience and survival
  • History enthusiasts looking to learn about the Sudanese civil war
  • Readers who enjoy narratives about overcoming adversity and finding hope in difficult circumstances

3
Africa Books: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

William Kamkwamba
Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope

What's The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind about?

This inspiring memoir tells the story of William Kamkwamba, a young boy from Malawi who taught himself how to build a windmill from scrap materials in order to bring electricity to his village. Against all odds, he overcame poverty and lack of resources to create a sustainable solution that changed the lives of his community. It is a testament to the power of determination and innovation.

Who should read The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind?

  • Curious individuals who are interested in learning about the power of determination and resilience
  • People who enjoy stories about triumph over adversity
  • Inspirational seekers who are looking for motivation and encouragement

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Africa Books: Invictus by John Carlin

Invictus

John Carlin

What's Invictus about?

Invictus tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela used the South African rugby team to unite a divided nation during the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Through interviews and research, John Carlin explores the power of forgiveness, leadership, and the ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. It is a compelling account of how sports can bring about social change and reconciliation.

Who should read Invictus?

  • Readers interested in the power of sports to unite and inspire
  • People curious about Nelson Mandela's legacy and his leadership during the transformation of South Africa
  • Those looking for a story of triumph against all odds and the indomitable human spirit

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Africa Books: I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka

I Will Always Write Back

Caitlin Alifirenka
How One Letter Changed Two Lives

What's I Will Always Write Back about?

This book tells the true story of two pen pals, Caitlin and Martin, who form an unlikely friendship through letters. As they exchange letters, they learn about each other's lives and develop a deep bond. The book highlights the power of friendship, kindness, and the impact of reaching out to someone in need. It is a heartwarming and inspiring tale of connection and the difference one person can make in another's life.


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Africa Books: The Return by Hisham Matar

The Return

Hisham Matar

What's The Return about?

"The Return" is a memoir by Hisham Matar that tells the story of his journey to find his father, who was kidnapped and imprisoned in Libya. It explores themes of loss, identity, and the search for truth in a country ruled by dictatorship. Matar reflects on his own life and the political turmoil in Libya, offering a poignant and deeply personal account of his quest for closure and understanding.

Who should read The Return?

  • Anyone interested in personal and political memoirs
  • People who enjoy reading about the experiences of those in exile
  • Readers looking for a deeply moving and reflective exploration of grief

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Africa Books: The Ponds of Kalambayi by Mike Tidwell

What's The Ponds of Kalambayi about?

The Ponds of Kalambayi is a captivating memoir by Mike Tidwell that takes readers on a journey to the heart of the Congo. Tidwell shares his experiences living in a remote village and working to build sustainable fish ponds, offering a poignant reflection on the power of community, resilience, and the deep connection between humans and the natural world. This inspiring book sheds light on the challenges and triumphs of life in a place often overlooked by the rest of the world.

Who should read The Ponds of Kalambayi?

  • Individuals interested in exploring different cultures and ways of life
  • Readers who enjoy memoirs and personal narratives
  • Those seeking to gain a deeper appreciation for nature and the environment

What's The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber about?

The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber is a gripping short story by Ernest Hemingway that delves into themes of courage, masculinity, and the complexities of human relationships. Set in the African savannah, the story follows the wealthy and timid Francis Macomber as he embarks on a hunting expedition with his wife and their experienced guide. As the events unfold, the story explores the dynamics between the characters and ultimately reveals the true nature of bravery and redemption. Hemingway's masterful storytelling and vivid descriptions make this a compelling read.

Who should read The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber?

  • Readers who enjoy exploring complex human psychology through fiction
  • Those interested in themes of courage, fear, and the pursuit of satisfaction
  • Individuals who appreciate Hemingway's concise and evocative writing style

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Africa Books: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing

Yaa Gyasi

What's Homegoing about?

"Homegoing" is a powerful novel that traces the lives of two half-sisters and their descendants, spanning over 300 years and multiple generations. Set in Ghana and America, the book explores the legacy of slavery and the impact it has on the lives of the characters. It is a deeply moving and thought-provoking story about family, identity, and the interconnectedness of our past and present.

Who should read Homegoing?

  • Readers who enjoy historical fiction that explores the lasting impact of slavery and colonialism
  • Those interested in exploring themes of identity, family, and cultural heritage
  • People who appreciate multi-generational narratives that span continents and centuries

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Africa Books: We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

We Need New Names

NoViolet Bulawayo

What's We Need New Names about?

The novel "We Need New Names" follows the story of a young girl named Darling as she navigates her life in Zimbabwe and later in the United States. Through her unique perspective, the book explores themes of identity, belonging, and the harsh realities of poverty and political turmoil. It offers a poignant and thought-provoking commentary on the complexities of the human experience.

Who should read We Need New Names?

  • Readers seeking a unique perspective on the experiences of immigrants
  • Individuals interested in exploring themes of identity and belonging
  • Those looking for a thought-provoking and emotionally impactful literary work

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Africa Books: When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson

When Stars Are Scattered

Victoria Jamieson

What's When Stars Are Scattered about?

This graphic novel tells the true story of Omar and his younger brother Hassan, who are refugees living in a camp in Kenya. It explores their daily struggles and dreams as they navigate life without their parents and search for a better future. A heartwarming and inspiring tale of resilience and the power of family.

Who should read When Stars Are Scattered?

  • Readers interested in a heartwarming and inspiring story
  • Individuals who want to gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of refugees
  • Those who enjoy graphic novels and illustrations that enhance storytelling

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Africa Books: Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis Majors

Kisses from Katie

Katie Davis Majors

What's Kisses from Katie about?

Kisses from Katie is a memoir that tells the inspiring story of Katie Davis, a young woman who leaves her comfortable life in the United States to serve as a missionary in Uganda. Through her heartfelt and often humorous accounts, Katie shares her journey of faith, love, and the transformative power of helping others. This book will leave you feeling inspired and challenged to make a difference in the world.

Who should read Kisses from Katie?

  • Individuals seeking inspiration and motivation to make a positive impact in the world
  • People interested in personal growth, faith, and overcoming challenges
  • Readers who enjoy stories of compassion, resilience, and following one's calling

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Africa Books: Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway

Monique and the Mango Rains

Kris Holloway
Two Years With a Midwife in Mali

What's Monique and the Mango Rains about?

Monique and the Mango Rains is a memoir that tells the inspiring story of a young American woman who becomes friends with a midwife in a remote village in Mali. Through their friendship, the book explores the challenges and triumphs of maternal and child healthcare in a developing country, while also celebrating the strength and resilience of women in the face of adversity. It is a heartfelt tribute to the power of friendship and the importance of access to healthcare for all.

Who should read Monique and the Mango Rains?

  • Readers interested in memoirs that explore cross-cultural experiences
  • Individuals passionate about women's health and reproductive rights
  • People who appreciate inspiring stories of friendship, resilience, and empowerment

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Africa Books: Slave by Mende Nazer

Slave

Mende Nazer
My True Story

What's Slave about?

"Slave" is a memoir by Mende Nazer, a Sudanese woman who was abducted and sold into slavery at the age of 12. The book recounts her harrowing experiences as a domestic servant and her eventual escape to freedom. It sheds light on the brutal reality of modern-day slavery and the resilience of the human spirit.

Who should read Slave?

  • Individuals interested in personal narratives of resilience and survival
  • Readers who want to gain a deeper understanding of the historical and ongoing issue of modern-day slavery
  • Advocates and activists working towards ending human trafficking and promoting human rights

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Africa Books: How Dare the Sun Rise by Sandra Uwiringiyimana

How Dare the Sun Rise

Sandra Uwiringiyimana
Memoirs of a War Child

What's How Dare the Sun Rise about?

This memoir tells the powerful and inspiring story of Sandra Uwiringiyimana, a young girl who survived a massacre in her home country of Congo and eventually resettled in the United States as a refugee. Through her courageous journey, she sheds light on the harsh realities of war and the resilience of the human spirit. It is a testament to the strength and determination of those who dare to rise above adversity.

Who should read How Dare the Sun Rise?

  • Individuals interested in stories of resilience and overcoming adversity
  • Readers seeking to gain insight into the experience of being a refugee
  • Those wanting to explore the strength of the human spirit in challenging circumstances

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Africa Books: Left to Tell by Immaculée Ilibagiza

Left to Tell

Immaculée Ilibagiza
Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust

What's Left to Tell about?

Left to Tell is a powerful memoir by Immaculée Ilibagiza, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. It recounts her incredible story of hiding in a small bathroom with seven other women for 91 days, as well as her journey towards forgiveness and healing. Through her firsthand account, Ilibagiza offers a message of hope and the strength of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable adversity.

Who should read Left to Tell?

  • Those seeking inspiration and hope in the face of adversity
  • Individuals interested in learning about the power of forgiveness and its impact on personal growth
  • Readers who enjoy memoirs that offer insights into the human spirit and resilience

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Africa Books: God Grew Tired of Us by John Bul Dau

God Grew Tired of Us

John Bul Dau
A Memoir

What's God Grew Tired of Us about?

This book tells the incredible true story of John Bul Dau and other Lost Boys of Sudan who fled their war-torn country and embarked on a perilous journey to find safety and a better life. It offers a firsthand account of their resilience, determination, and the challenges they faced as they sought refuge in the United States. It is a powerful and inspiring tale of survival and the strength of the human spirit.

Who should read God Grew Tired of Us?

  • Those who are interested in the experiences and resilience of Sudanese refugees
  • Readers who want to gain insights into the challenges and triumphs of being a displaced person
  • Individuals who enjoy memoirs that offer a unique perspective on war, survival, and hope

What's Cry, the Beloved Country about?

Set in South Africa during the 1940s, "Cry, the Beloved Country" tells the story of a Zulu pastor who travels to Johannesburg in search of his son. Through the pastor's journey, the novel explores the racial and social injustices of the time, and the impact of these injustices on individuals and communities. It is a powerful and thought-provoking book that delves into themes of love, loss, and the struggle for justice.

Who should read Cry, the Beloved Country?

  • Readers interested in exploring the consequences of social injustice and racial inequality
  • Individuals seeking a thought-provoking and emotionally impactful novel
  • Those who enjoy character-driven stories that delve into the complexities of human nature

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