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A country as culturally diverse will bring forth the most influential writers.

African authors have written books that tackle issues – issues of the third world, issues that have been smoothened over by the contemporary world. What makes African literature a great read is the honesty, the brutal truth that has evaded us and the culturally, socially invested they are.

Here are the African authors you must read:

  1. Chinua Achebe:

Achebe revived African literature, and he chronicled the racial history in his novels. One notable contribution is the critique of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, whereby he pointed out different Africa portrayed. Achebe’s most notable work is Things Fall Apart where he vividly describes the difference in the traditional and Eurocentric colonial rule and the tension between masculinity and femininity.

  1. Nelson Mandela:

Mandela, apart from leading a country in times of inflation while his term as the President, he was the anti-apartheid revolutionary that landed him in jail for years. His autobiography The Long Road to Freedom that details his journey as an activist to a prisoner to his release after 18 years to form the ANC. Norton’s Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela documents his tie in prison.

  1. Buchi Emecheta:

Emecheta is one of the most prominent women writers from Africa. Born in Lagos, her novels portray the unfair, unequal roles women face in societies, mostly African. Her feministic trope is evident in The Ditch and Second-Class Citizen. Her work and essays mostly talk about questions of identities. Emecheta’s women characters are always initiative and resourceful -something she has learnt from life.

  1. Wole Soyinka:

A Telephone Conversation is chilling. It is a conversation between an African man and an English lady, the former looking to be a tenant. The poem, short and crisp and highlights racial prejudice in the most conversational way as possible. Such is Soyinka’s writing. Soyinka was the first Sub-Saharan poet to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. His satirical tone, as is evident, is many like The Lion and the Jewel while For Zia, With Love and the parody Lady Babua shows his disregard for corrupt, authoritarian government.

  1. Nuruddin Farah:

Farah’s aim is to write about the plight of women in Somalian society, the country he is from. His first novel From the Crooked Rib became one of the cornerstones of East African literature today. He has many essays under his name and is distinguished as an African Literature professor.

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