African Interest

African Interest

  • Betrayal in the City by Francis Imbuga

    Betrayal in the City by Francis Imbuga

    Ksh 499

    Brief summary  First published in 1976, this play from one of Africa's foremost dramatists is in the classic cannon. It is an incisive examination of the problems of independence and freedom in post-colonial Africa states, where few believe they have a stake in the future.  In the words of one of the characters: "It was better while we waited. Now we have nothing to look forward to. We have killed our past and are busy killing our future." Francis Imbuga is a playwright and actor.  He is the recipient of the Kenya National Academy of Sciences Distinguished Professional Award in Play Writing.

  • Its Our Turn to Eat by Michela Wrong

    Its Our Turn to Eat by Michela Wrong

    Ksh 1799

    Brief summary  It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower. When Michela Wrong's Kenyan friend John Githongo appeared one morning on the doorstep of her London flat, it was clear something had gone very wrong in a country regarded until then as one of Africa's few budding success stories.  John's tale is the story of how a brave man came to make a lonely decision with huge ramifications.  

  • Medical Apartheid by Harriet A Washington

    Medical Apartheid by Harriet A Washington

    Ksh 1899

    Brief summary  Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present. From the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of black America’s shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment.  Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections.  Moving into the twentieth century, it shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of blacks, and the view that they were biologically inferior, oversexed, and unfit for adult responsibilities. Shocking new details about the government’s notorious Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less-well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions. The product of years of prodigious research into medical journals and experimental reports long undisturbed, Medical Apartheid reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and makes possible, for the first time, an understanding of the roots of the African American health deficit. At last, it provides the fullest possible context for comprehending the behavioral fallout that has caused black Americans to view researchers—and indeed the whole medical establishment—with such deep distrust. No one concerned with issues of public health and racial justice can afford not to read Medical Apartheid, a masterful book that will stir up both controversy and long-needed debate.  

  • Tip and Run by Edward Paice

    Tip and Run by Edward Paice

    Ksh 1199

    Brief summary  Controversial and groundbreaking account of the infamous East African campaign during First World War In the aftermath of the Great War the East Africa campaign was destined to be dismissed by many in Britain as a remote 'sideshow' in which only a handful of names and episodes - the Königsberg, von Lettow-Vorbeck, the 'Naval Expedition to Lake Tanganyika' - achieved any lasting notoriety. But to the other combatant powers - Germany, South Africa, India, Belgium and Portugal - it was, and would remain, a campaign of huge importance. A 'small war', consisting of a few 'local affairs', was all that was expected in August 1914 as Britain moved to eliminate the threat to the high seas of German naval bases in Africa. But two weeks after the Armistice was signed in Europe British and German troops were still fighting in Africa after four years of what one campaign historian described as 'a war of extermination and attrition without parallel in modern times'. The expense of the campaign to the British Empire was immense, the Allied and German 'butchers bills' even greater. But the most tragic consequence of the two sides' deadly game of 'tip and run' was the devastation of an area five times the size of Germany, and civilian suffering on a scale unimaginable in Europe. Such was the cost of 'The White Man's Palaver', the final phase of the European conquest of Africa.  

  • Understanding Contemporary Ethiopia

    Understanding Contemporary Ethiopia

    Ksh 3999

    Brief summary  Understanding Contemporary Ethiopia Monarchy Revolution and the Legacy of Meles Zenawi When we think of Ethiopia we tend to think in cliches: Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, the Falasha Jews, the epic reign of Emperor Haile Selassie, the Communist Revolution, famine and civil war. Among the countries of Africa it has a high profile yet is poorly known. How- ever all cliches contain within them a kernel of truth, and occlude much more.  Today's Ethiopia (and its painfully liberated sister state of Eritrea) are largely obscured by these mythical views and a secondary literature that is partial or propagandist. Moreover there have been few attempts to offer readers a comprehensive overview of the country's recent history, politics and culture that goes beyond the usual guidebook fare.  Understanding Contemporary Ethiopia seeks to do just that, presenting a measured, detailed and systematic analysis of the main features of this unique country, now building on the foundations of a magical and tumultuous past as it struggles to emerge in the modern world on its own terms.

  • Ngugi Reflections on his Life of Writing

    Ngugi Reflections on his Life of Writing

    Ksh 3199

    Brief summary  This collection of essays reflects on the life and work of Ngugi wa Thiong'o, who celebrated his 80th birthday in 2018. Drawing from a wide range of contributors, including writers, critics, publishers and activists, the volume traces the emergence of Ngugi as a novelist in the early 1960s, his contribution to the African culture of letters at its moment of inception, and his global artistic life in the twenty-first century.  Here we have both personal and critical reflections on the different phases of the writer's life: there are poems from friends and admirers, commentaries from his co-workers in public theatre in Kenya in the 1970s and 1980s, and from his political associates in the fight for democracy, and contributions on his role as an intellectual of decolonization, as well as his experiences in the global art world. Included also are essays on Ngugi's role outside the academy, in the world of education, community theatre, and activism.  In addition to tributes from other authors who were influenced by Ngugi, the collection contains hitherto unknown materials that are appearing in English for the first time. Both a celebration of the writer, and a rethinking of his legacy, this book brings together three generations of Ngugi readers. We have memories and recollections from the people he worked with closely in the 1960s, the students that he taught at the University of Nairobi in the 1970s, his political associates during his exile in the 1980s, and the people who worked with him as he embarked on a new life and career in the United States in the 1990s. First-hand accounts reveal how Ngugi's life and work have intersected, and the multiple forces that have converged to make him one of the greatest writers to come out of Africa in the twentieth century.   

  • Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela

    Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela

    Ksh 1899

    Brief summary  Lyrics Alley is the evocative story of an affluent Sudanese family shaken by the shifting powers in their country and the near-tragedy that threatens the legacy they've built for decades. Their fortune threatened by shifting powers in Sudan and their heir's debilitating accident, a powerful family under the leadership of Mahmoud Bey is torn between the traditional and modern values of Mahmoud's two wives and his son's efforts to break with cultural limits.   

  • Chameleon Aura by Billy Chapata

    Chameleon Aura by Billy Chapata

    Ksh 1599

    Brief summary  Zimbabwean poet Billy Chapata provides a thought-provoking take on the universal experiences of love, pain, and what comes next through messages of empowerment. This collection of poetry and prose will justify heartache and inspire the fortitude to survive and prosper.  Chameleon Aura presents a harmonious blend of experience and advice through a chaptered series of prose and poetry that focuses on shared experiences in love and loss. Emboldened words and phrases capture the essence of the author's message and distinguish his unique style.  Chapata's touching narrative celebrates humanity for their biological resilience and undeniable worth. This collection leaves readers warm with hope for growth, rebirth, and, most prominently, self-acceptance.   

  • Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin

    Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin

    Ksh 999

    Brief summary  Once in a great while a debut novelist comes along who dazzles us with rare eloquence and humanity, who takes us to bold new places and into previously unimaginable lives. Gaile Parkin is just such a talent—and Baking Cakes in Kigali is just such a novel. This gloriously written tale—set in modern-day Rwanda—introduces one of the most singular and engaging characters in recent fiction: Angel Tungaraza—mother, cake baker, keeper of secrets—a woman living on the edge of chaos, finding ways to transform lives, weave magic, and create hope amid the madness swirling all around her. In Kigali, Angel runs a bustling business: baking cakes for all occasions—cakes filled with vibrant color, buttery richness, and, most of all, a sense of hope only Angel can deliver.…A CIA agent’s wife seeks the perfect holiday cake but walks away with something far sweeter…a former boy-soldier orders an engagement cake, then, between sips of tea, shares an enthralling story…weary human rights workers…lovesick limo drivers. Amid this cacophony of native tongues, love affairs, and confessions, Angel’s kitchen is an oasis where people tell their secrets, where hope abounds and help awaits. In this unlikely place, in the heart of Rwanda, unexpected things are beginning to happen: A most unusual wedding is planned…a heartbreaking mystery—involving Angel’s own family—unravels…and extraordinary connections are being made among the men and women who have tasted Angel’s beautiful cakes…as a chain of events unfolds that will change Angel’s life—and the lives of those around her—in the most astonishing ways.  

  • No Refuge The Crisis of Refugee Militarization in Africa

    No Refuge The Crisis of Refugee Militarization in Africa

    Ksh 3399

    Brief summary  The militarization of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), especially in Africa, is causing growing alarm within the humanitarian and development communities. The planned and spontaneous arming of refugees and IDPs threatens access to asylum as well as protection.  But while the policy debates rage over how to deal with armed refugees and how to prevent their spill-over into neighbouring countries, surprisingly little research has been done to explain why displaced people arm themselves or how militarization affects the local and host populations.  This book traces the experience of refugee and IDP militarization in four African countries emerging from or affected by war: Guinea, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. It considers the effects of such militarization on regional, national, and human security, and reflects on the responses of hosting governments and humanitarian organizations.  

  • A Continent for the Taking The Tragedy and Hope of Africa

    A Continent for the Taking The Tragedy and Hope of Africa

    Ksh 1799

    Brief summary  In A Continent for the Taking Howard W. French, a veteran correspondent for The New York Times, gives a compelling firsthand account of some of Africa’s most devastating recent history–from the fall of Mobutu Sese Seko, to Charles Taylor’s arrival in Monrovia, to the genocide in Rwanda and the Congo that left millions dead.  Blending eyewitness reportage with rich historical insight, French searches deeply into the causes of today’s events, illuminating the debilitating legacy of colonization and the abiding hypocrisy and inhumanity of both Western and African political leaders.  While he captures the tragedies that have repeatedly befallen Africa’s peoples, French also opens our eyes to the immense possibility that lies in Africa’s complexity, diversity, and myriad cultural strengths. The culmination of twenty-five years of passionate exploration and understanding, this is a powerful and ultimately hopeful book about a fascinating and misunderstood continent.   

  • The Obamas The Untold Story of an African Family

    The Obamas The Untold Story of an African Family

    Ksh 1699

    Brief summary  On January 20, 2009, a few hundred men, women, and children gathered under trees in the twilight at K’obama, a village on the shores of Lake Victoria in western Kenya. Barack Obama’s rise to the American presidency had captivated people around the world, but members of this gathering took a special pride in the swearing in of America’s first black president, for they were all Obamas, all the president’s direct African family.  In the first in-depth history of the Obama family, Peter Firstbrook recounts a journey that starts in a mud hut by the White Nile and ends seven centuries later in the White House. Interweaving oral history and tribal lore, interviews with Obama family members and other Kenyans, the writings of Kenyan historians, and original genealogical research, Firstbrook sets the fascinating story of the president’s family against the background of Kenya’s rich culture and complex history. He tells the story of farmers and fishermen, of healers and hunters, of families lost and found, establishing for the first time the early ancestry of the Obamas. From the tribe’s cradleland in southern Sudan, he follows the family generation by generation, tracing the paths of the famous Luo warriors—Obama’s direct ancestors—and vividly illuminating Luo politics, society, and traditions. Firstbrook also brings to life the impact of English colonization in Africa through the eyes of President Obama’s grandfather Onyango. An ambitious and disciplined man who fought in two world wars, witnessed the bloody Mau Mau insurrection, and saw his country gain independence from white rule, Onyango was also hot-tempered and autocratic: family lore has it that President Obama’s grandmother abandoned the family after Onyango attempted to murder her. And Firstbrook delves into the troubled life of Obama’s father, a promising young man whose aspirations were stymied by post-independence tribal politics and a rash tendency toward self-destruction—two factors that his family believes contributed to his death in 1982. They say it was no accident, as described in the president’s memoirs, but rather a politically motivated hit job. More than a tale of love and war, hardship and hard-won success, The Obamas reveals a family history—epic in scope yet intimate in feel—that is truly without precedent.  

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