If you are searching for the great texts of African literature, look for the autobiographies. The lives and reflections of the great heroes and heroines of African history are at the very core of modern storytelling. There exists a great and impressive variety of African autobiographies. Even most of the fictional literature is often semi-biographical, which is why biographical accounts are to be found among every category of literature in this website. Because of its long struggle for independence, the African continent presents a powerfully symbolic pantheon of great women and men. In the popular imagination, they themselves become like great texts.
h2. Autobiographies of African Storytellers
!/public/images/jugend/romane/biografien/ba_amadou.png(Ba Amadou)! !/public/images/jugend/romane/biografien/lekuton_joseph.png(Joseph Lekuton)! !/public/images/jugend/romane/biografien/soyinka_wole.png(Soyinka Wole)!
Wole Soyinka was the first writer from black Africa to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. His autobiography, “_Aké. Years of Childhood_(Aké. Years of Childhood)”:/en/youth/books/biography/ake-the-years-of-childhood.html, has become a classic. It is an enchanting account of growing up in a missionary station in Nigeria. Amadou Hampâté Bâ’s book, “_Amkoullel, A Fula Child_(Amkoullel, A Fula Child)”:/en/youth/books/biography/amkoullel-a-fula-child.html, is an account of growing up in the tradition of the Griots, the storytellers of West Africa. His autobiography is also a journey into old Mali and its long tradition of Islamic culture. Ngugu wa Thiong’o recalls in his autobiography, “_Dreams in a Time of War_(Dreams in a Time of War)”:/en/youth/books/biography/dreams-in-a-time-of-war.html, his childhood in central Kenya, East Africa. In his account, we learn that the culture clash between British power and the African tribes not only affected his childhood, but also led to his impulse to become a writer. Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton is a Kenyan politician and a Maasai warrior. His life, and his exceptional career, are described in “_Facing the Lion_(Facing the Lion)”:/en/youth/books/biography/facing-the-lion-growing-up-maasai-on-the-african-savanna.html. He gives us not only a rare view into the life of the Maasai people, but also demonstrates the need of his people to participate in western forms of political action.
Autobiographies of African Politicians
!/public/images/jugend/romane/biografien/mandela_nelson.png(Nelson Mandela)! !/public/images/jugend/romane/biografien/makeba_miriam.png(Miriam Makeba)! !/public/images/jugend/romane/biografien/maathai_wangari.png(Maathai Wangari)!
One of Africa’s master texts is Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, “_Long Walk to Freedom_(Long Walk to Freedom)”:/en/youth/books/biography/long-walk-to-freedom.html, which the author wrote during his long years of imprisonment. Presenting the milestones of the struggle against racism and apartheid, Nelson Mandela underscores the larger project of making freedom and justice permanent in South Africa. Miriam Makeba was the most prominent African musician and singer. Her biography “_My Story_(My Story)”:/en/youth/books/biography/my-story.html, proves, that she was also a prominent opponent of the apartheid regime. Her music communicated not only the power of African people, but also the ideals of freedom, justice and equal rights. The Kenyan biologist, Wangari Muta Maathai, initiated the “Green Belt Movement.” She helped convince people that protecting nature is one of the most important missions of modern politics. She also stood up for the will of African women to become part of national and global political decisions. The title of her biography is also a confession of a strong spirit: “_Unbowed. A Memoir_(Unbowed. A Memoir)”:/en/youth/books/biography/unbowed-a-memoir.html.
Novels and Autobiographies
African Traditional Life
Amkoullel, A Fula Child
Aké. The Years of Childhood
Dreams in a Time of War
Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna
Long Walk to Freedom
Unbowed: A Memoir
Coming of Age
The Mending Season
Lessons in Humanity
A Long Way Gone. Memoirs of a boy soldier
Child Soldier: Fighting for my life
I die, but my Memory lives on
Stories about Friendship