14 Aug Five Must Read African Novels
Are you looking for some interesting African Novels to read? We have listed five of the must read novels by African authors for you. Amonsgt these are Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun …
Those who in the past lived in the delusion of Africans had no written works of their own before the advent of colonization struggled initially to embrace the early African literary works and looked up only to those coming from the global North. However, that era was forced to retire by the birth of widely accepted works of Africans, thinking through the colonial struggle and depicting the inherent nature of Africans. Now, African literary works are ending in many hands outside Africa, unlike ever before due to the emergence of the Internet.
If you’re browsing through the internet, looking for an interesting African story to read. This article will halt you in this way as it is poised to show you some of the classical and modern African novels that are worth your while
The classical ones would take you through the African culture, what the white colonizers came on their ships with, and the nature of the liberation struggle. Most of the African novels written in the colonial period shared the same theme. Almost the themes were about enslavement and colonization. However, the winning of the liberation war by the nationalistic heroes reshaped how they wrote.
Contemporary African literature is more diverse, compared to what it used to be in the time past. While the pre-colonial writers wrote about colonization, the struggle for independence, and African tradition.
The post-colonial writers have more focus on African tradition and modernity, contrasting past and present, development, politics, and globalization.
Five Famous African Novels to Read Now
This list comprises the three best pre-colonial African novels and two post-colonial or contemporary African novels. There are many other famous African literary masterpieces, but these ones enlisted below are good enough for you to begin with.
1. Things Fall Apart: Chinụa Achebe
Things Fall Apart is disputably an archetypical African novel model. The novel was written in 1958— two years before the Nigerian independence— and had a setting in Igboland, South East, Nigeria.
Achebe chronicled the Igbo tradition, the chaotic arrival of the white missionaries, and the forming of colonial government through this literary masterpiece. The protagonist of the story was Okonkwo whose father, Unoka, lived in misery and was infamous for being prodigal with borrowed money. Unoka was fond of borrowing money, which he splurged on wine, leaving his heir, Okonkwo, with nothing at the time of his demise. Okonkwo who loathed his father’s poor achievement armed himself with determination to break off this lazy chain and earn himself a space amid the reverend men in Umuofia.
He worked out his dream but unfortunately got banished from his community after he accidentally shot someone dead on a sacred day. He returned seven years later to acclaim his reverend position but worried about his lazy son who took resemblance from his late father rather than him. The incursion of white missionaries into his territory worsened his worries more.
Things Fall Apart is the best-selling African novel and the most widely read novel in Africa. It has earned 63 translations into different languages.
2 . Waiting— Goretti Kyomuhendo
Waiting is a post-colonial novel that takes you through the oppressive era of Idi Amin in Uganda and the unexpected chaos that erupted after Ugandan exiles teamed up with Tanzania troops and Indians to oust Amin from power. The Indian soldiers whose ancestors had pitched a tent in Uganda since the British took their forebears away from their original homes in India centuries ago were fighting for a right to live in their newly founded homes.
The writer narrates how the abandoned people of Uganda slept in fear of Idi Amin’s marauding soldiers who couldn’t take an eye off the glowing village women. And never spared their lives after a forceful penetration. The main character of the story, teenage Alinda, and her family, lived in perpetual fear with a sense of optimism as they awaited that moment liberating soldiers from immediate countries would arrive. This novel should be a must-read for everyone, especially now the world has seemingly thrown into a war abyss.
3. Burma Boy– Biyi Bandele
Burma Boy is a story about Nigerian soldiers fighting for British Empire during the Second World War. The main character of the story was high-spirited 14-year-old Ali Banana who lied about his age to get recruited into the batch of Nigerian soldiers in the British army. His plan to fight against aggressive Japan bore fruit as he eventually ended up landing in Burma – a British Asian colony facing Japanese aggression. Ali survived the agony of war through comradeship and a sense of humor. Burma Boy should be a must-read for Africans. Reading through this story would give you a sense that your ancestors fought alongside the British soldiers during the Second World War and their stories were never told in an applaudable way. Their efforts to the Allies’ victory were ever under-appreciated and written out of the history book.
4. Half of a Yellow Sun — Chimamanda Ngọzi Adichie (Published in 2006)
This play reflects the trauma and effects of the Biafran War. The inter-relationship between the Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria and the Hausa people of Northern Nigeria was chaotic and sour. Both peoples had toxic relations in the early 1960s which eventually boiled into rioting, leaving dead hundreds of thousands of Igbos in the North. Consequently, the Eastern Region broke away after the failures of some peace talks, leading to the formation of the Republic of Bịafra. Their move was deemed illegal by then the Nigerian government, resulting in the Nigeria-Biafran War of 1967.
Half of a Yellow Sun by Ngọzi Adichie, published in 2006, is a historical fiction that tells the story of twin sisters from a wealthy business family caught up in the war. Kainene, one of the twin sisters, was charming and her father’s favorite. She managed her father’s business in Port Harcourt but the eruption of the war swayed her character. She abandoned her father’s business and ran a refugee camp in Port Harcourt instead. But eventually struck a business deal with the enemies in stealth, ruining her reputation. While her twin sister, Olanna was used as a bribe by her father to get business deals due to her beauty.
5. Hunger Eats a Man – Sithole
Writers of South African heritage had been unfair towards the reality of life in the rural parts o South f Africa. The famous writers are fond of ignoring the squalid condition of those fellow citizens living in the shanty areas of South Africa. Unlike other novelists who write about the South African bustling cities, Sithole had to tell a story relatable to this set of people. He shines a light on the ravaging effects of poverty, exploitation, and adversity in this rural area of South Africa.