Five great books from Africa to read in 2022 – Quartz Africa

It has been a fantastic year for African writing, with Tanzania’s Abdulrazak Gurnah winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2021. South Africa’s Damon Galgut lifted the Man Booker Prize for his novel, The vow, and intriguing prose continued to sprout. Peter Kimani, a leading Kenyan writer, journalist and academic, lists his top five choices.

Chronicles from the land of the happiest people on earth

Penguin Random House

Wole Soyinka

Wole Soyinka, the great Nigerian poet, playwright, activist and intellectual, published his first novel in almost 50 years. He laughed at CNN’s exact figure of 48 years. The title of his latest novel is inspired by a 2011 Gallup poll that listed Nigerians at the top of its annual happiness index, prompting Soyinka to pursue utopia in his native country.

What he finds is a dystopian world inhabited by charlatans pretending to be Christians; young, skilled professionals lured home to perform sinister acts; others reinvent themselves to survive the vicissitudes of politics. A sweeping satire on a country that Soyinka began writing about over 60 years ago, this is an important addition to his impressive oeuvre.


Bloomsbury Publishing

Abdulrazak Gurnah

In this multigenerational historical fiction about Tanganyika in the shadow of the German occupation at the beginning of the 20th century, the new Nobel Laureate in Literature presents the stories of individuals trapped on both sides of the racial divide.

There the locals are lured into the service of the German Empire; still others are invested in the pursuit of love and their optimism that it can sew ruined lives. Offering intimate portraits of his characters, rooted in great historical epochs, Gurnah claims the place of native narratives in a whitewashed, limiting view of European colonization of Africa.

Rustens Hus

Graywolf Press

Khadija Abdalla Bajaber

In an enchanting story from a new voice, Bajaber transforms a familiar narrative trope into a refreshing voyage of discovery. The main character sets out to look for his fishing father, who is lost at sea. Her journey is on a unique thing made of a skeleton, which is transformed into other forms as she travels deep into the unknown.

Bajaber is the winner of the inaugural Graywolf Press African Fiction Prize, which came with a generous $ 12,000 advance. It is easy to understand why the panel, led by Nigerian author A. Igoni Barrett, settled on The House of Rust.

Biubwa Amour Zahor: The Revolutionary Woman

E&D Vision Publishing

Zuhura Yunus

Tanzania may be in the news for producing East Africa’s first Nobel laureate in literature, but there are other compelling reasons that deserve attention, such as the groundbreaking biography of BBC journalist Zuhura Yunus.

Biubwa Amour Zahor: The Revolutionary Woman (Biubwa Amour Zahor: The Revolutionary Woman), written in Kiswahili, draws from the Tanzanian archives a colorful character whose exploits in the 1960s revolution have largely gone unnoticed. This recovery action will hopefully draw the attention of other forgotten heroines and introduce them to a younger generation of readers.

Pioneers, rebels and a few villains: 150 years of journalism in East Africa


Charles Onyango-Obbo

The adage that “journalism is the first draft of history” confirms the important work that journalists have done in shaping what people know about the past. Yet we rarely read the stories of these historians. That is exactly what Charles Onyango-Obbo, the East African journalist’s doyen, Ugandan by birth and pan-African by work – his footprints are everywhere, from Nairobi to Johannesburg – seeks to rectify.

The result: a compelling reading that should enrich our understanding of journalism pioneers in the region. The book is written in effervescent diction and is as entertaining as it is informative.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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