Mission to Kala (Mission termine) is a powerful comic novel set in late colonial Cameroon. It won the Prix Sainte-Beuve in 1958. It describes the visit of a young Yaounde-educated man to a village in the interior. Jean-Marie Medza, the narrator, has just failed his Baccalaurat exam, and returns home expecting humiliation. Instead, he finds that as a scholar his prestige is immense, and he is charged with the duty of travelling to Kala, a remote village, to secure the return of a young woman who has fled her lazy, demanding husband. In Kala, while awaiting the return of the woman to the village, Medza stays with his uncle, who exploits the young man's celebrity status to have him showered with gifts, most of which his uncle keeps. Medza is the focus of a series of amusing incidents, becomes unexpectedly married, and eventually completes his mission - but then has to return home to deal with the anger of his ambitious father. Mongo Beti (1932-2001) was a key figure in modern West African literature. His major works of fiction include The Poor Christ of Bomba (1956), Mission to Kala (1957) The Miraculous King (1958), and Perpetua and the Habit of Unhappiness (1974). His non-fiction includes The rape of Cameroon, autopsy of a decolonisation (1972) and France against Africa: return to Cameroon (1993). Although he spent 32 years in self-imposed exile, only returning to Cameroon in 1991, he was throughout his career a powerful political and moral voice, always engaged in the affairs of his home country.
countries to developing African nations has helped to reduce poverty and increase growth. In fact, poverty levels continue to escalate and growth rates have steadily declined—and millions continue to suffer. Debunking the current model of international aid promoted by both Hollywood celebrities and policy makers, Dambisa Moyo offers a bold new road map for financing development of the world’s poorest countries. Much debated in the United States and the United Kingdom on publication, Dead Aid is an unsettling yet optimistic work, a powerful challenge to the assumptions and arguments that support a profoundly misguided development policy in Africa. And it is a clarion call to a new, more hopeful vision of how to address the desperate poverty that plagues millions.
A New York Times Notable Book "A stunning debut novel." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times This celebrated, unforgettable first novel ("A bright, big-hearted demonstration of female spirit." -The Guardian), shortlisted for the prestigious Women's Prize for Fiction and set in Nigeria, gives voice to both husband and wife as they tell the story of their marriage--and the forces that threaten to tear it apart. Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage--after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures--Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time--until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin's second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. Which, finally, she does--but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.
Since 2010, Africa Book Club has been the go-to place for book lovers looking to explore interesting fiction and non-fiction from Africa. From the popular Africa Book Club Short Reads monthly writing competition, comes this original collection of short stories. We have pulled together over 50 winning stories that run the breadth of the continent in terms of the countries and themes they cover. They reflect a continent on the move, one that is bustling with life, creativity, love, laughter, opportunity, hope, and promise - a far cry from the singularly negative stereotypes that so often come to mind when reading about Africa.
Under the pseudonym Eza Boto, Mongo Beti wrote Ville cruelle (Cruel City) in 1954 before he came to the world's attention with the publication of Le pauvre Christ de Bomba (The Poor Christ of Bomba). Cruel City tells the story of a young man's attempt to cope with capitalism and the rapid urbanization of his country. Banda, the protagonist, sets off to sell the year's cocoa harvest to earn the bride price for the woman he has chosen to wed. Due to a series of misfortunes, Banda loses both his crop and his bride to be. Making his way to the city, Banda is witness to a changing Africa, and as his journey progresses, the novel mirrors these changes in its style and language. Published here with the author's essay "Romancing Africa," the novel signifies a pivotal moment in African literature, a deliberate challenge to colonialism, and a new kind of African writing.
A groundbreaking and wide-angled memoir by the acclaimed Kenyan Caine Prize winner Binyavanga Wainaina.
Binyavanga Wainaina tumbled through his middle-class Kenyan childhood out of kilter with the world around him. This world came to him as a chaos of loud and colorful sounds: the hair dryers at his mother’s beauty parlor, black mamba bicycle bells, mechanics in Nairobi, the music of Michael Jackson—all punctuated by the infectious laughter of his brother and sister, Jimmy and Ciru. He could fall in with their patterns, but it would take him a while to carve out his own. In this vivid and compelling debut memoir, Wainaina takes us through his school days, his mother’s religious period, his failed attempt to study in South Africa as a computer programmer, a moving family reunion in Uganda, and his travels around Kenya. The landscape in front of him always claims his main attention, but he also evokes the shifting political scene that unsettles his views on family, tribe, and nationhood. Throughout, reading is his refuge and his solace. And when, in 2002, a writing prize comes through, the door is opened for him to pursue the career that perhaps had been beckoning all along. A series of fascinating international reporting assignments follow. Finally he circles back to a Kenya in the throes of postelection violence and finds he is not the only one questioning the old certainties. Resolutely avoiding stereotype and cliché, Wainaina paints every scene in One Day I Will Write About This Place with a highly distinctive and hugely memorable brush.
Akimbo can't believe his luck when his father allows him to visit his uncle Peter's snake park. And when a local village calls to report a sighting of a green mamba snake--the rarest and most deadly one of all--Akimbo hopes to help his uncle catch it for the park. But little does he expect to find himself trapped face to face with the deadliest of reptiles. Bestselling novelist Alexander McCall Smith brings the majesty and dangers of Africa to life in this vividly imagined adventure for young readers. (recommended for ages 7-9)
'Happy Valley' was the name given to the region of Kenya's Central Highlands where a community of affluent, hedonistic white expatriates settled between the wars. Including the writer Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), the pioneering aviator Beryl Markham and the troubled socialite Idina Sackville whose life was told in Frances Osborne's bestselling The Bolter, the Happy Valley set's notoriety was sealed in 1931 with the sensational - and still unsolved - murder of the Earl of Errol, the investigation of which laid bare the extent of the set's decadence and irresponsibility, and made for another bestselling book in James Fox's White Mischief. But what is left now? Juliet Barnes, who has lived in Kenya for many years, has set out to explore Happy Valley in a remarkable and indefatigable archaeological quest to find the homes and haunts of this extraordinary and vanished set of people - grand residences like Clouds up in the hills that once hosted opulent and scandalous parties. With the help of African guides, and guided by the memories of elderly expats she tracks down to the Muthiaga old enough to have first-hand memories of the likes of Idina and Lord Errol and the lives they led, what she finds - ruins reclaimed by luxuriant bush, tumbledown dwellings in which an African family ekes a subsistence living, or even a modest school - is a revelation of the state of modern Africa that makes the gilded era of the Happy Valley set seem even more fantastic. A book to set alongside such singular evocations of Africa and its strange colonial history as The Africa House, "The Ghosts of Happy Valley: The Biography" is a mesmerising blend of travel narrative, social history and personal quest.
Why States Recover: Changing Walking Societies into Winning Nations, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe (by Greg Mills)
State failure takes many forms. Somalia offers one extreme. The country's prolonged civil war led to the collapse of central authority, with state control devolving to warlord-led factions that competed for the spoils of local commerce, political power, and international aid. Malawi, on the other hand, is at the other end of the scale. During President Bingu's second term in office, the country's economy collapsed as a result of poor policies and Bingu's brand of personal politics. On the surface, Malawi's economy seemed largely stable; underneath, however, the polity was fractured and the economy broken. In between these two extremes of state failure are all manner of examples, many of which Mills explores in the fascinating and profoundly personal Why States Recover. Throughout he returns to his key questions: how do countries recover? What roles should both insiders and outsiders play to aid that process? Drawing on research in more than thirty countries, and incorporating interviews with a dozen leaders, Mills examines state failure and identifies instances of recovery in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. For anyone interested in the reasons behind states' failure, and remedies to ensure future economic stability, it is important reading.
King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village (by Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman)
The charming real-life fairy tale of an American secretary who discovers she has been chosen king of an impoverished fishing village on the west coast of Africa. "King Peggy" chronicles the astonishing journey of American secretary, Peggielene Bartels, who suddenly finds herself king to a town of 7,000 people on Ghana's central coast, half a world away. Upon arriving for her crowning ceremony in beautiful Otuam, she discovers the dire reality: there's no running water, no doctor, no high school, and many of the village elders are stealing the town's funds. To make matters worse, her uncle (the late king) sits in a morgue awaiting a proper funeral in the royal palace, which is in ruins. Peggy's first two years as king of Otuam unfold in a way that is stranger than fiction. In the end, a deeply traditional African town is uplifted by the ambitions of its decidedly modern female king, and Peggy is herself transformed, from an ordinary secretary to the heart and hope of her community.
Based on Eric Miyeni's controversial but popular e-zine, this collection of opinion pieces and essays analyzes current topics facing post-apartheid South Africa; including black economic empowerment, affirmative action, race, poverty, and affluence, while also touching on such lighter topics as sports, movies, love, and friendship. Black pride, strength, unity, and prosperity are central themes in these articles, creating a unique picture of the current South African black consciousness movement.
In her most intimate and seamlessly crafted work to date, Adichie turns her penetrating eye on not only Nigeria but America, in twelve dazzling stories that explore the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Africa and the United States.
From the Nobel Prize laureate and author of the acclaimed Cairo Trilogy, a beguiling and artfully compact novel set in Sadat's Egypt. The time is 1981, Anwar al-Sadat is president, and Egypt is lurching into the modern world. Set against this backdrop, The Day the Leader Was Killed relates the tale of a middle-class Cairene family. Rich with irony and infused with political undertones, the story is narrated alternately by the pious and mischievous family patriarch Muhtashimi Zayed, his hapless grandson Elwan, and Elwan's headstrong and beautiful fiancee Randa. The novel reaches its climax with the assassination of Sadat on October 6, 1981, an event around which the fictional plot is skillfully woven. The Day the Leader Was Killed brings us the essence of Mahfouz's genius and is further proof that he has, in the words of the Nobel citation, "formed an Arabic narrative art that applies to all mankind."
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William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger. But William had read about windmills, and he dreamed of building one that would bring to his small village a set of luxuries that only 2 percent of Malawians could enjoy: electricity and running water. His neighbors called him misala—crazy—but William refused to let go of his dreams. With a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks; some scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves; and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to forge an unlikely contraption and small miracle that would change the lives around him. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a remarkable true story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. It will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual's ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him.
Libya, 1979. Nine-year-old Suleiman’s days are circumscribed by the narrow rituals of childhood: outings to the ruins surrounding Tripoli, games with friends played under the burning sun, exotic gifts from his father’s constant business trips abroad. But his nights have come to revolve around his mother’s increasingly disturbing bedside stories full of old family bitterness. And then one day Suleiman sees his father across the square of a busy marketplace, his face wrapped in a pair of dark sunglasses. Wasn’t he supposed to be away on business yet again? Why is he going into that strange building with the green shutters? Why did he lie? Suleiman is soon caught up in a world he cannot hope to understand—where the sound of the telephone ringing becomes a portent of grave danger; where his mother frantically burns his father’s cherished books; where a stranger full of sinister questions sits outside in a parked car all day; where his best friend’s father can disappear overnight, next to be seen publicly interrogated on state television. In the Country of Men is a stunning depiction of a child confronted with the private fallout of a public nightmare. But above all, it is a debut of rare insight and literary grace.
Raised by his mother in a one-room house in the slums of Casablanca, Youssef El Mekki has always had big dreams of living another life in another world. Suddenly his dreams are within reach when he discovers that his father-whom he'd been led to believe was dead-is very much alive. A wealthy businessman, he seems eager to give his son a new start. Youssef leaves his mother behind to live a life of luxury, until a reversal of fortune sends him back to the streets and his childhood friends. Trapped once again by his class and painfully aware of the limitations of his prospects, he becomes easy prey for a fringe Islamic group. In the spirit of "The Inheritance of Loss "and "The Reluctant Fundamentalist," Laila Lalami's debut novel looks at the struggle for identity, the need for love and family, and the desperation that grips ordinary lives in a world divided by class, politics, and religion.
"Deron Goes to Nusery School" is a title in the "First Experiences" series, a vivid new series portraying young children's very first experiences of nursery school, time with grandparents, and other events. The first time for anything can be daunting, and these books set out to familiarize children, through simple read-aloud words and beautiful photos, with what seems at first unfamiliar but will eventually become a routine part of everyday life. Set in and photographed in Ghana in West Africa, these beautiful books brilliantly capture these universal early childhood experiences from the relatively unusual and revealing perspective of a country in the developing world. In "Deron Goes to Nusery School," Deron watches his mother make his new school clothes. The next day he goes with her to the school and meets his new teacher, who shows him around the school and introduces him to the other children. Playing, singing, writing, eating lunch, resting, and listening to a story are all part of Deron's exciting first day, and at the end he can't wait to go back tomorrow. Written and photographed by an award-winning author, this is a uniquely heart-warming book to share with all young children. (Ages 4-7)