The Sankofa Book Club...

March 2019

Copyright © Ama Ata Aidoo 1965, 1970 and 1985

The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born
by Ayi Kwei Armah

The story centres around “The Man” who lives a very humble life in early postcolonial Ghana. His character is challenged when he is offered a bribe at his workplace and he refuses. The country is still ridden with corrupt leadership and structures despite successfully getting rid of their colonial masters. He is disillusioned with the current state of affairs and tries lives his life detached from it all.

February 2019

Copyright © 2016 by Imbolo Mbue

Behold the Dreamers
by Imbolo Mbue

Behold The Dreamers is a depiction of the intertwined lives of two families living in New York. The Jonga family are (illegal) immigrants from Cameroon who are trying to live the American Dream. Through a twist of fate, their paths cross dependent on employment by the wealthy Edwards. Clark Edwards works for the Lehman Brothers and the bankruptcy of this company threatens the lives of both families, revealing certain truths that threaten to overturn both worlds.

November 2018

Copyright © NoViolet Bulawayo 2013

We Need New Names
by NoViolet Bulawayo

This is a coming of age story for 10-year-old Darling who is manoeuvring her way through a life that is rapidly crumbling from under her. She is ‘rescued’ by her aunt who lives in Michigan where she quickly assimilates but is still finding it difficult to completely shed her old skin.

October 2018

Copyright © Esi Edugyan

Washington Black
by Esi Edugyan

Washington ‘Wash’ Black, a young slave, finds himself living under the same roof as his master’s abolitionist brother, Christopher Wilde. Christopher introduces Wash to a new world of innovation and his obsession with making a ‘flying machine’.  This new life is interrupted when a bounty is places on Wash’s head for murder. After choosing to flee with Wash, the duo encounter a number of strange people along the way.

August 2018

by A. Igoni Barrett

Furo Wariboko, a 33 year old Lagosian graduate, wakes up on the morning of his job interview to discover a physical transformation has taken place – he is now a white man. Barrett uses satire to explore concepts such race in Nigeria and duality.

July 2018

The Kitchen Dweller's Testimony
by Ladan Osman

The collection is largely influenced by Osman’s Somali and Islamic heritage. Most of the speakers are women of colour observing and expressing their agitations on issues such as race, politics and love. She manages to combine humour with introspection, leaving the reader provoked.

June 2018

Copyright © 2012 by Editions Julliard, Paris
English translation © 2016 by Emma Ramadan

The Curious Case of Dassoukine’s Trousers
by Fouad Laroui

This collection is filled both with humour and some serious metaphors to life and the stories are told by a group of friends sitting at a Café in Casablanca. The title is a story of a young man who travels to a different country where everyone acts weird, when in fact he is the foreigner or weird one. Most of the stories are a reflection on identity and our perception of the world around us.

May 2018

by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Kintu, governor or Ppookino of Buganda sets out on a journey and unfortunately for him, a lapse in judgement results in him unleashing a curse that will transcend to his descendants. We see the ripple effect of his actions affecting different generations of his clan in their individual stories.

March 2018

© Tendai Huchu, 2010

The Hairdresser of Harare
by Tendai Huchu

The book’s main character is a young single-mother named Vimbai. One of the best hairdressers in town, things change for her when Dumisani enters the salon looking for work and they develop an interesting relationship. We see the city of Harare through her lens as she navigates life in the city and fights to survive amidst the vast inequality and corruption she is surrounded by.

February 2018

Copyright © Fiston Mwanza Mujila 2014

Tram 83
by Fiston Mwanza Mujila

The main characters Lucien, a writer, is guided into the city life by his friend Requiem the thief. Mujila utilises their interactions with other character to illustrate the consequences of raw human nature being exposed in the search for progress, power and success.

January 2018

Copyright © Taiye Selasie, 2013

Ghana Must Go
by Taiye Selasi

Kweku Sai, a renowned surgeon in the United States returns to his homeland Ghana due to a series of unfortunate events, only to meet his sudden death. This event forces his family to come together to deal with many unresolved issues from the past.

December 2017

Copyright © 2016 Ijeoma Umebinyuo

Questions for Ada
by Ijeoma Umebinyuo

This collection of poems is addressed to ‘Ada’, a representation of womankind. It is a call for women around the world to embrace their flaws and stand up to the patriarchal institutions and norms that have been established and long accepted by society. It addresses serious issues such as marriage, domestic abuse and self-love.

November 2017

Copyright © 2005 by Doreen Baingana

Tropical fish: Tales from Entebbe
by Doreen Baingana

Tropical Fish is a collection of eight interlinked short stories that follow the journey of three Ugandan sisters: Christine, Rosa and Patti, as they mature into young adults.

October 2017

Copyright © 1988 by Tsitsi Dangarembga

Nervous Conditions
by Tsitsi Dangarembga

The novel is set in rural Zimbabwe where Tambu, an intelligent young girl, struggles with the realities of society. It starts off with the death of her brother which we soon find out paves the way to her emancipation and advancement in life. We see the different struggles that the women in her family face and how she manages to overcome some of them.

September 2017

Copyright © 2010 Lola Shoneyin

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives
by Lola Shoneyin

A young, highly educated lady Bolanle marries into a polygamous family, becoming the fourth wife of Baba Segi. The novel is written such that each of the wives gives their perspectives on the different situations in which they find themselves, illustrating the difficulty in juggling a polygamous household.

August 2017

Copyright © 2016 Trevor Noah

Born a Crime
by Trevor Noah

Mixed race Trevor Noah was born during apartheid, when interracial relationships in South Africa are illegal. He was literally born a crime. This book is rich with humour as Trevor narrates stories of his youth including the good, the bad and the ugly of South Africa’s history and culture.

July 2017

Copyright © 2007, 2014 Teju Cole

Every day is for the thief
by Teju Cole

A man who has spent a significant amount of time abroad (United States) returns to Nigeria only to find out that it is not at all what he expected. It is full of corruption and economic strife which the narrator struggles to deal with and makes him question whether he is ready to permanently relocate.

June 2017

Copyright © Leila Aboulela 2010

Lyric's Alley
by Leila Aboulela

This novel is loosely based off the life of Hassan Awad Aboulela who happens to be the authors uncle. It tells the story of Nur, a talented young poet whose future has been predetermined by his father to take over the family business. Things fall apart when a diving accident leaves him a quadriplegic.

May 2017

Copyright © 2015 Chigozie Obioma
Illustration © 2015 Jon Gray

The Fishermen
by Chigozie Obioma

The story is about four brothers, Ikenna, Boja, Obembe and Benjamin who decide to secretly go fishing in a river. After a few weeks of successfully hiding their secret hobby, they are found out. On one of their fishing escapades, they encounter a madman who predicts that Ikenna will be killed by one of his brothers.

April 2017

Copyright © 2012 Ayebia Clarke Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012 Diplomatic Pounds & Other Stories by Ama Ata Aidoo

Diplomatic Pounds and Other Stories
by Ama Ata Aidoo

A collection of diverse short stories based in various locations, but underpinning the issues West Africans have in common.

March 2017

Copyright © 2015 by Petina Gappah

The Book of Memory
by Petina Gappah

The Book of Memory is the tale of an albino woman, Mnemosyne aka Memory facing death row in Zimbabwe. Following the advice of her lawyer, Memory vividly recants the events leading up to the murder of a man she is accused of, a white man she was sold to as a child.

February 2017

Copyright © Chinua Achebe, 1958

Things Fall Apart
by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart follows the tale of Okonkwo; a respected man from the village of Umuofia. Traditional customs are upheld in this community until white missionaries question their way of living. Through Okonkwo’s experience, light is shed on the ugly truths of colonisation.

December 2016

Copyright © Ngugi wa Thiong’o, 1964

Weep Not, Child
by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Weep Not Child is the story of three families and the roles they played in their community during the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya.

November 2016

Copyright © YNG Books, Inc., 2016

by Yaa Gyasi

This novel starts with two sisters Effia and Esi in the Gold Coast on very different paths in life. While Effia marries a colonial soldier, Esi is sold into slavery and shipped to America.

Homegoing tells their stories and the generations’ to follow; stories of slavery, colonialism, life in America after slavery, the birth of Ghana and the plights of people of colour in Ghana and the USA.

October 2016

Copyright © Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Americanah is the tale of Ifemelu and Obinze; young lovers in Nigeria. But as the political climate changes, the two are forced to make their own changes. Ifemelu continues her education in America whilst Obinze sneaks into the UK as an illegal immigrant.

The journey of their individual challenges and triumphs in the western world are explored. Over time Obinze returns to a more peaceful Nigeria and makes a name for himself. Ifemulu, recognised as a successful blogger, moves back home and is soon met with the bitter-sweet moment of revisiting the past with Obinze. Has their love stood the test of time?

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