5 GLOBALLY RECOGNIZED AUTHORS FROM AFRICA
Africa has produced many legendary authors. The history of Africa in terms of Colonization, Independence and economic growth has seen vast changes over the past years.
A continent very rich in mineral resources and diverse culture was once brought down to its knees under colonial rule. But through the efforts of some freedom fighters, the continent is now free.
While some of these freedom fighters used the sword, others used their pens to fight for the freedom the continent enjoys today.
From feminism to colonization, to Apartheid and all societal problems, Africa had writers who vociferously discussed these issues in their literary works.
Some of these writers, however, have been recognized globally and deemed to have played crucial roles in Africa’s growth. This is evident in the fact that most of these books have been made part of the African educational curriculum.
Let’s forge ahead and discuss 5 Globally recognized authors from Africa.
5. Ayi Kwei Armah – Ghana
Ayi became one of the globally recognized Authors from Africa for writing novels that depicted the political devastations and social frustrations of the Ghanaian society. This he did by writing from the point of view of a pained Ghanaian individual who is struggling to come to terms with a post-independent Ghana in his book, ” The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born“.
Although Ayi Kwei Armah is an essayist who writes short stories and children’s books, he was recognized for being able to interpret the struggles of the African man struggling to come to terms with the effects of both the western and African culture.
4. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Nigeria
Born in 1977, Chimamanda grew up with a professor as a father, a university registrar as a mother, and five siblings. She had a normal childhood until she travelled to the United States to further her education at 19 years old. It was there that it suddenly hit her that the colour of her skin wasn’t quite accepted.
As one of the globally recognized Authors from Africa, Chimamanda was encouraged to write her book “Americanah” to educate others on racism. Her book “Purple Hibiscus” got quite an acceptance in African schools too.
Ngozi’s works won her nominations and awards. With a platform as one of the leading globally recognized Authors from Africa, Chimamanda supports the LGBTQ Community in Nigeria which has met a lot of critics but the 43-year-old who has been speaking her mind for ages would not be perturbed.
She has been described as one of the strongest African women of recent ages. The author has shared platforms with many great people including Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama and the likes.
3. Ngugi wa Thiong’o – Kenya
With Ngigi’s short story, ‘The Upright Revolution: Or Why Humans Walk Upright’, translated into 98 languages from around the world, you would agree that he is one of the leading globally recognized Authors in Africa.
James Ngugi born on the 5th January 1938 has written novels with post-colonial themes that depicted the African Community against the colonial cultures. “The river between” is an essential example of this fact.
His works received many criticisms until he was imprisoned by the government for a year without trial for staging a politically controversial play. Stating that language was a key tool for decolonizing the mindset and culture of African readers and writers, Ngugi wa Thiong’o went back to writing in his native language, Swahili and Gikuyu.
2. Wole Soyinka-Nigeria
Wole Soyinka was the first sub-Saharan African in 1986 to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Wole was born in Abeokuta on the 13th of July 1934 where he grew up in a staunch Christian home although he became an atheist later in life. After schooling in London, Wole came back to Nigeria to play an active role in Nigeria’s political history and its fight against the British Colonial Regime for Independence.
The Nigerian playwright, novelist, and poet paid dearly for his decision to join the political fight when he was put in solitary confinement for two years by General Yakubu Gowon in 1967.
Wole Soyinka became one of Nigeria’s globally recognized Authors from Africa when his plays were performed in London’s Royal Court Theatre as well as Ibadan. His focus had always been on the uneasy relationship between progress and tradition in Nigeria.
1.Chinua Achebe – Nigeria
Born and raised in the Igbo town of Ogidi, Chinua Achebe saw the clash between Christian values instilled by colonial masters, Western cultures, African values, and the effects it had on the Nigerian society.
He needed to voice out his perceptions. He did so wonderfully by using the predominant African literature rather than the adopted colonial perspective. His style of writing relied on straightforward narrations with the rich vibe of the Igbo oral narration.
The first and famous novel that made him one of the globally recognized Authors from Africa was “Things fall apart” which discussed the clash of traditions he witnessed while growing up. He won international awards to prove his recognition.
Chinua Achebe who died in 2013, aged 82, is not just a novelist, critic, and poet but also, a dominant figure in modern African Literature.
These 5 Globally recognized authors have received numerous awards for putting Africa out there. However, they have equally had their fair share of tribulations for believing in what they thought was right.
Aside from them, many other African writers have received global recognition and praise for their works. A few include Prof. Anyidoho and Kofi Awoonor from Ghana, Ben Okri, Nardine Gordimer and Aminatta Forna among many others.
Who was your favourite among these authors? Whose book did you read first? Comment your answers below and share this article with your friends and family.