Introduction to Africa Reading Discussions Essay

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Throughout the semester in Introduction to Africa we read five books that focused on stories and narratives that concentrated on African culture and the experiences of many groups of people in Africa. The books that were covered were: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudau Equiano, Weep Not Child by Ngugi wa Thiongo, So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba, and My First Coup d’Etat by John Dramani Mahama. All five books provided relevant information that reinforced what was taught in class and helped introduce what life is like living in various African countries. Things Fall Apart is an interesting novel that provides an account of a man struggling to keep his culture in tact during the period of European colonialism in Nigeria. He feels so strongly about keeping his culture that when he finds out his fellow villagers do not support his rebellion he hangs himself because he sees no point in continuing to live in a country that is ruled by European settlers. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudau Equiano is a memoir that describes the life of Equiano and his experiences as a slave since he was little. It is a grasping story that goes into detail about the conditions that many slaves during this time had to face. Weep Not Child tackles the issue of the fight for independence in Kenya. The main character works for a European man and one day he loses his job because he participated in a riot for African rights. He also feels strongly about the importance of freedom in Kenya and the safety of his family. So Long a Letter is a novel that contains a series of letters sent between two women in Senegal. Both of their husbands have gone on and married a second woman. This novel helps reinforce the emotional struggle women face in Africa and the mistreatment of women polygamy can create. Finally, My First Coup d’état is a memoir that focuses on Mahama’s life from when he was a child to the time he graduates with a graduate degree in Russia. His memoir discusses the struggles his family had gone through when military leaders overthrow governments. In the following pages I will summarize each book separately in more detail and include my thoughts and reactions to the characters and the story itself. The books covered provide plenty of information pertaining to African culture and traditions. Overall, these five books provided lots of useful information for the study of African culture and were able to help greatly in understanding the lifestyle and culture of many people living in Africa during various time periods.
Things Fall Apart- Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart was the first novel covered in class. The novel is based in the 1890’s and describes the clash between colonialism and the Igbo tribe in Nigeria. The main character in this novel is Okonkwo; he is a warrior from the Umuofia clan. He is ashamed of his father, Unoka because he is cowardly and oftentimes in debt to many of the villagers. His father...

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