African-Themed Reading List: Awaken Your Imagination

Village people work around the clock. Being idle is not part of who we are. Now that I am temporary in the diaspora I still find it difficult to relax without worrying about chores.Besides, I recalled as I embark to study overseas, my mother reminded me that “education is your farm.” Bearing that principle in mind, over the years I figured out a way to mix my reading bag. I do not want to  become the “farmer” who is burnt-out  halfway, subsequently abandons her farm all together. I frequently read academic books related to my research in religion and gender in Africa but I also read writings that are not connected to my field, and some are entirely non-academic. There are many benefits to reading: it energies me to think about different aspects of life that I would never have thought about. It calms me down, enrich my vocabulary ( I often read with a dictionary to look up unfamiliar terms), encourages me to write better, and wait for it— takes me into the world of the author.This is just the tip of the iceberg and I hope the list sails you away:))

African Centered book shelf...

  1. The Joys of Motherhood, Buchi Emecheta (Nigerian)
  2.  Because of Women, Mbella Sonne Dipoko (Cameroonian)
  3. How to Write about Africa, Binyavanga Wainaina (Kenyan)
  4. So Long a Letter, Mariama Ba (Senegalese)
  5. The Sport of the Gods,  Paul Laurence Dunbar ( African American)
  6. The Autobiography of my Mother, Jamaica  Kincaid (Antiguan)
  7. Weep Not, Child, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o ( Kenyan)
  8. The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah, Kwame Nkrumah (Ghanaian- First president of the country)
  9. King Leopold’s Ghost, Adam Hochschild  (White American- journalist)
  10. Sex and the Empire that is no more, J.Lorand Matory (African American- Anthropologist)
  11. The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander ( African American)
  12. Shrines of the Slave Trade:Diola Religion and Society in Precolonial Senegambia, Robert M.Baum ( White American)
  13. Africana Womanism: Reclaiming Ourselves, Clenora Hudson-Weems ( African American – Pan-African)
  14. African Philosophy An Anthology, ( Pan-African)
  15. Dipo and the Politics of Culture in Ghana, Marijke Steegstra ( Swedish- Anthropologist)
  16. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Walter Rodney  (Guyanese)
  17. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Alex Haley (African American)
  18.  Nervous Condition, Tsitsi Dangarembga  ( Zimbabwean)
  19. African Roots/American Cultures: Africa in the Creation of the Americas ,Sheila S.Walker ( editor,  anthology)
  20.  The Invention of Africa: Gnosis, Philosophy and the Order of Knowledge, V.Y.Mudimbe (Congolese)
  21.  Fela: The Bitch of a life, Carlos Moore  ( Afro Cuban)
  22.  I Put a Spell on You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone ( African American/ Pan-African)
  23. Juan the Chamula , Ricardo Pozas  ( Mexican anthropologist )
  24. The Lonely African, Colin M.Turnbull ( British- American, Anthropogist)
  25. Teacher’s Dead, Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah ( Jamaican- Afro-British dub poet, writer, Rastafari.)

©Yoknyam Dabale

6 thoughts on “African-Themed Reading List: Awaken Your Imagination

  1. Oh sister Dabale.. YESS to this whole list. It is indeed important to keep one minds stimulated by reading. Will definitely look this books up. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for sharing. King Leopold’s ghost was very informative about the crimes that were committed in the Congo–murder, chopping off limbs for failing to meet quotas, among other atrocities. By the way, he mentioned the death of Patrice Lumumba in the beginning of the book(save that for another discussion). I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley and it really inspired me to make something of myself. I gave three copies to my relatives when I visited Liberia in 2012. I want to recommend the following: The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr edited by Dr. Clayborne Carson, A Grain of wheat by Ngugi WA Thiongo, Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease by China Achebe. Also, Narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglas and the narrative of the life of Henry “box” Brown. Just to name a few. Peace.

  3. Hello Moses,

    Thank you for stopping by. Amazing list and I hope my readers take your free gift. I have copies of all the books you suggested. Yes, it is impossible to read the Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley without being transformed. I read it when I was a teenager in Nigeria, I did not understand the context but it left something in me that I later discovered when I started schooling in the United States ( that white people, majority have collectively caused a lot of pain in the Black community). That book should be required for all high school students.

    Respect and be safe.

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