May, 23 2013

RECOMMENDED READING LIST

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Culture
Stories
Family
Recommended Reading List

No trip is complete without the company of a few books. Trafrica invites our clients to read before their journey to Africa, as well as during. The Trafrica team has recommended a entensive list of books that vary greatly in subject matter as well as tone - some are humourous fictional accounts, whereas others are serious historical accounts - in order to best introduce you to eh diversity, contrast, and history that exists on this vast continent.

 
 
I DREAMED OF AFRICA
By Kuki Gallmann / Kenya
This autobiography tells the story of an Italian woman whose life is driven by love of Africa. The reader is escorted through both joy and tragedy in her life.
 
 
SCRAMMBLE FOR AFRICA
By Thomas Pakenham
History of the European colonization of Africa over the course of four decades.
 
 
DON'T LETS GO TO THE DOGS TONIGHT: AN AFRICAN CHILDHOOD
By Alexandra Fuller / Zimbabwe
The author remembers her African childhood with candor and sensitivity. Though it is a diary of an unruly life in an often inhospitable place, it is suffused with Fuller’s endearing ability to find laughter, even when there is little to celebrate.
 
 
ONE DAY I WILL WRITE ABOUT THIS PLACE
By Binyavanga Wainaina / Kenya
Award winning author takes us on amusing and real journey.
 
 
EMMA'S WAR
By Deborah Scroggins / Sudan 
In 1991, in the middle of a refugee crisis in southern Sudan, a British aid worker named Emma scandalized the relief community by marrying a local guerrilla leader. The author, a veteran journalist on Sudan, uses Emma's story to examine the failure of Western idealism in Africa.
 
 
THE FLAME TREES OF THIKA: MEMORIES OF AN AFRICAN CHILDHOOD
By Elsbeth Huxley / Kenya
Author paints an unforgettable portrait of growing up among the Masai and Kikuyu people, discovering both the beauty and the terrors of the jungle, and enduring the rugged realities of the pioneer life.
 
 
WHAT IS THE WHAT
By Dave Eggers / Sudan
Based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng who, along with thousands of other children —the so-called Lost Boys—was forced to leave his village in Sudan at the age of seven and trek hundreds of miles by foot, pursued by militias, government bombers, and wild animals, crossing the deserts of three countries to find freedom. When he finally is resettled in the United States, he finds a life full of promise, but also heartache and myriad new challenges. Moving, suspenseful, and unexpectedly funny.
 
 
FYNBOS FAIRIES
By Antjie Krog / South Africa
 
 
THE GRAVES ARE NOT YET FULL: RACE, TRIBE, AND POWER IN THE HEART OF AFRICA
By Bill Berkeley
Gripping exploration of some of the worst African atrocities of the past 20 years.
 
 
BORN FREE
By Joy Adamson / Kenya
Illustrated account of a lion cub in transition between the captivity in which she is raised and the fearsome wild to which she is returned captures the abilities of both humans and animals to cross the seemingly unbridgeable gap between their radically different worlds.
 
 
A GOOD MAN IN AFRICA
By William Boyd / Kinjanja
Adventures of a junior diplomat in Africa, the author spins a darkly comic tale of political corruption, revolution, sexual misadventure, blackmail, and death.
 
 
JOCK OF THE BUSHVELD
By Sir James Percy Fitzpatrick / South Africa
Here is the story of a Boy who went to seek his fortune in California and Australia and his dog. This tribute to the life of the 1880s in the outposts of the agrarian Transvaal.
 
 
BIKE - CRY FREEDOM
By Donald Woods / South Africa
The true story of and the friendship that defied Aparthied in South Africa.
 
 
THE SHADOW OF THE SUN
By Ryszard Kapuściński
Constantly surprising and eye-opening, Kapuœciñski's book teaches us much about contemporary events and recent history in Africa. Polish author and journalist, he takes the reader one a graceful exploration of postcolonial Africa. Incredible political observations coupled with beautiful and amusing narrative.
 
 
THE SHACKLED CONTINENT: AFRICA'S PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
By Robert Guest
In this captivating book the author shares his experiences of Sub-Saharan Africa by exploring the reasons for the region's abject poverty and suffering.
 
 
BLOOD RIVER
By Tim Butcher /Congo
The author undertook a hazardous 6-week African trip in 2004, traveling from Lake Tanganyika to the Atlantic Ocean via the Congo River. And he did not travel via aircraft but overland by motorbike, dugout canoe, and UN patrol boat. This account is an exceptionally gripping example of travel writing.
 
 
CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY
By Alan Paton / South Africa
Beautifully crafted prose, this is an account of Zulu priest Stephen Kumalo who, in search of missing family members, leaves his South African village to traverse the deep and perplexing city of Johannesburg in the 1940s.
 
 
WEST WITH THE NIGHT
By Beryl Markham / Kenya
This is the author's story as aviator, racehorse trainer, beauty--and her life in the Kenya of the 1920s and '30s. She became the first woman ever to to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west. The boos is regarded by many as one of the best adventure books ever as well as one of the most beautifully written books on Africa.
 
 
POWER OF ONE
By Bryce Courtenay / South Africa
As World War II blasts, the seeds of apartheid take root in South Africa. There, a boy called Peekay is born and he has a terrible childhood. He then embarks on an epic journey through a land of tribal superstition and modern prejudice where he will learn the power of words, the power to transform lives, and the power of one.
 
 
GHOSTS OF TSAVO: STALKING THE MYSTERY LIONS OF EAST AFRICA
By John Henry Patterson / Kenya
The books recounts the story of a pair of man-eating predator lions that the author and his team killed, known as the Tsavo Man-eaters. Following the death of the lions, the book tells many stories concerning local wildlife (including other lions), local tribes, the discovery of the man-eaters' cave, and various hunting expeditions. There is also good advice to sports-men visiting Africa.
 
 
A LONG WAY GONE
By Ishmeal Beah / Sierra Leone
What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived. In his book, he tells the story of how he, a gentle boy at heart, was picked up and forced to be a child soldier.
 
 
KING LEOPOLD'S GHOST: A STORY OF GREED, TERROR AND HEROISM IN COLONIAL AFRICA
By Adam Hochschild / Congo
In the 1880s, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium seized for himself the vast and mostly unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River. Carrying out a plundering of the Congo, he looted its rubber, brutalized its people, and ultimately slashed its population by ten million--all the while shrewdly cultivating his reputation as a great humanitarian. Heroic efforts to expose these crimes eventually led to the first great human rights movement of the twentieth century.
 
 
THE ELECTRONIC ELEPHANT: A SOUTHERN AFRICA JOURNEY
By Dan Jacobson / South Africa
This travel book combines autobiography, travel, history, politics and philosophy. The Great North Road skirts the northwest border of South Africa, running through Northern Cape Province, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The author of this book travelled the length of this historically and symbolically important route to explore the history of colonization.
 
 
DARK STAR SAFARI: FROM CAIRO TO CAPETOWN
By Paul Theroux
Curious and witty, this travel writer offers a rich and insightful book whose itinerary is Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town: down the Nile, through Sudan and Ethiopia, to Kenya, Uganda, and ultimately to the tip of South Africa. Going by train, dugout canoe, "chicken bus," and cattle truck, Theroux passes through some of the most beautiful — and often life-threatening — landscapes on earth.
 
 
HALF A YELLOW SUN
By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie / Nigeria
The author illuminates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra's impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in southeastern Nigeria during the late 1960s.
 
 
BAKING CAKES IN KIGALI
By Gaile Parkin / Rwanda
The story is about Angel Tungaraza: mother, cake baker, pillar of her community, keeper of secrets big and small. Angel’s kitchen is an oasis in the heart of Rwanda, where visitors stop to order cakes but end up sharing their stories, transforming their lives, leaving with new hope.
 
 
A PEOPLE BETRAYED: THE ROLE OF THE WEST IN RWANDA'S GENOCIDE
By Linda Melvirn / Rwanda
In 1994 up to one million people were killed in Rwanda in a genocide. The author investigated the case for 5 years and through this book reveals how the great powers failed to heed the warnings of the coming catastrophe, and refused to recognize the genocide when it began, ignoring obligations under international law, specifically the genocide convention.
 
 
WE WISH TO IFORM YOU THAT TOMORROW WE WILL BE KILLED WITH OUR FAMILIES
By Philip Gourevitch / Rwanda
In April 1994, up to one million people were killed in Rwanda in a genocide. The author's work is an anatomy of the war in Rwanda, a vivid history of the tragedy's background, and an unforgettable account of its aftermath.
 
 
THE NO.1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY
By Alexander McCall Smith / Botswana
The enchanting book is a cross between an engaging detective story and a love poem to Africa. The amusing book is seen through the eyes of the main character - Mma Precious Ramotswe - who establishes the first detective agency in Botswana. This is a business she feels will fill a need in the community because people are always wanting to know something.
 
 
CHINA IN AFRICA, COMPETITOR OR HEGEMON?
By Chris Alden / Africa
This book investigates the emerging relationship between China and Africa to determine whether this engagement will be that of a development partner, economic competitor or new hegemony. Alden argues that in order to understand Chinese involvement on the continent, we need to recognize the range of economic, diplomatic and security rationales behind Beijing's Africa policy as well as the response of African elites to China's entreaties.
 
 
 
GREEN HILLS OF AFRICA
By Ernest Hemmingway / East Africa
In the winter of 1933, Ernest Hemingway and his wife Pauline set out on a two-month safari in the big-game country of East Africa, camping out on the great Serengeti Plain at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. This is an account of that expedition, of what it taught him about Africa and himself. Richly evocative of the region's natural beauty, tremendously alive to its character, culture, and customs, and pregnant with a hard-won wisdom gained from the extraordinary situations it describes, it is widely held to be one of the twentieth century's classic travelogues.
 
 
NATURAL FASHION: TRIBAL DECORATIOIN FROM AFRICA
By Hans Sylvester / Ethiopia
 
 
THE SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE: A DISCOVERY OF THE FOODS AND FLAVORS OF AFRICA
By Marcus Samuelsson / Various
 
 
THE SOUTH AFRICAN ILLUSTRATED COOKBOOK
By Lehla Eldridgey / South Africa
 
 
WILDFLOWER: AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE AND UNTIMELY DEATH IN AFRICA
By Mark Seal / Kenya