Everyone wants to travel around the world one day and everyone would love to explore the different cultures around the world. However, until you save up enough to do so, the only gateway into exploring other cultures can be done through literature. Most especially, African literature. Africa is mostly known for its exotic animals and beautiful landscapes but nothing is said of its amazing works of literature. If you're a curious person like me and would love to know about other cultures in other countries, reading books indigenous to their countries should be a start. African literature is one way to go if you're really curious about African cultures and its societies. So here are some amazing books that you could start with by adding to your reading list.
1. “Stay With Me” by Ayobami Adebayo
This is an interesting love story about a couple who try have a child in a society that validates having children in the marriage, this struggle to find the children even includes them finding love with other people. This story talks about love, betrayal and also the heartbreak that comes with dealing with sickle cell disease. This novel is by far my favorite novel this year and it has an amazing twist to the end, if you read enough to get that far.
2. “Happiness Like Water” by Chinelo Okparanta
A compilation of short stories with amazing plots and twists. The story also has an overall theme dealing with women as victims of societal issues. Topics like Marital rape, domestic violence and colorism are some of the themes touched on in the book.
3. “Purple Hibiscus” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
First of all, Adichie is one of my favorite writers. She is very popular for her views on feminism and also her criticisms on some African traditions. This book is an amazing book and I always make it a tradition to read it every year. It includes every relatable protagonist and a surprising plot twist at the end.
4. “The Joys Of Motherhood” by Buchi Emecheta
A story about a traditional woman's dream of fulfilling her wish of being a mother of many children but instead finds herself struggling for survival in the city. This is a very touching story, and at the end, you would find yourself appreciating all mothers for the sacrifices they make for their kids.
5. “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This is a very popular novel which I'm sure most book nerds would probably have read by now or at least heard of; but I'm putting it on this list because as much as it is popular, it is also important a very important one. This story is one which every immigrant in America can relate with. It is a love story which also touches on topics of racism, immigration, natural hair and many more. Fun Fact: The mini-series of the book is already in the works and Lupita Nyo'go is going to be acting as the main character (I'm really looking forward to binge-watching it!)
6. “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi
A story about the lives and experiences of the descendants of an Asante woman (a tribe in Ghana, Western Africa), the descendants story begins with her two daughters whom are separated by circumstances. It is a Historical fiction and it basically touches on slavery and segregation.
These books are just a scrape in comparison to the treasure that is African literature- and I'm not being biased because I'm African. I totally recommend at least one of it to be read every year and I can bet you wouldn't regret it!