By Alex Thurston
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, radiating political, cultural and economic influence across the continent and around the world. Yet Nigeria’s incredible complexity — composed of hundreds of ethnic groups and languages — can be daunting even to those interested in understanding the country. The nonspecialist can also be easily misled by the popular image of Nigeria as a land of Internet scammers and, more recently, fanatical jihadists. Three recent books, however, make Nigeria more accessible to the beginner and more comprehensible to the specialist. These books take up core issues facing the country, especially the Boko Haram crisis and the future of Nigeria’s democracy.
Continue reading “Here are the three new books you need to understand Nigeria”
A PARTICULAR KIND OF BLACK MAN
By Tope Folarin
“Task: to be where I am. / Even when I’m in this solemn and absurd / role: I am still the place / where creation works on itself.”
This verse, from the Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer’s “Guard Duty,” provides the epigraph for Nigerian-American Tope Folarin’s debut novel, “A Particular Kind of Black Man,” and echoes of Transtromer’s lucidly self-instructive poem ring throughout its pages.
Continue reading “A Nigerian-American Bildungsroman, in Mormon Country Image”
In 2003 a go-getting Kenyan nurse called Janet Kisaka Rangi found out that an application process she had begun with some agents in Nairobi had borne fruit. She had an opportunity to move to the United States.
She quit her nursing job at Aga Khan University hospital after working for a year. She packed her belongings, left her husband behind and flew off to America, all this while expecting her first child.
Continue reading “Kenyan author and blogger, Janet Rangi, writes book on how immigrants can secure success in America”
By Aida Alami
Refugees often say that war feels like a wave of violence washing over them, leaving behind death and destruction. The feeling was no different for Katra Ali Hethar, who fled war-torn Somalia in 1991 with her nine small children.
Continue reading “Somali and American: Portrait of a Minnesota Community”
Always Another Country,” by Sisonke Msimang (World Editions/World Editions)
Msimang’s stories teach readers about race and racism, how one’s political ideology shifts, and about contemporary South African political history
By Kim Yi Dionne
Continue reading “This gripping memoir tells the story of a girl — and South Africa — coming of age”
Abdi Nor Iftin will discuss his new memoir, “Call Me American,” Tuesday, June 4, at 5:30 p.m. at the Southwest Harbor Public Library.
Iftin lives in Portland where he works as an interpreter for other Somalis in Maine. He was recently accepted to the University of Southern Maine, where he plans to study political science.
“Call Me American” is the true story of Iftin’s survival of in war-ravaged Mogadishu, Somalia, and his journey to America.
Continue reading “‘Call me American’ Portland resident who escaped war-torn Somalia shares story”
By David Canfield
Late on a spring night in the Mojave’s Yucca Valley, Driss Guerraoui is killed in a brutal hit-and-run. We meet the man as a helpless victim, but over the course of The Other Americans, he emerges with complexity: a loving grandfather, a flawed husband, a diner operator, a philosophy scholar, a native of Morocco. His death sets into motion a reckoning over 9/11’s long shadow for Muslim Americans, and the treacherous place immigrants occupy in the current climate.
Continue reading “In The Other Americans, Laila Lalami reveals what unites and divides us”
There was a generation of Africans who went to the western world to get educated. That generation included the father of former President Barrack Obama and a lot of political leaders who led their countries into independence. This article by Aminatta Forna in the New York Review of Books talks about that Renaissance generation.
Continue reading “Obama and the Legacy of Africa’s Renaissance Generation”
Little is known of Africa’s role in the Manhattan project, the secretive operations that led to the development of the Atomic Bomb. A new book Spies in the Congo by Dr. Susan Williams discusses U.S. intelligence operations in the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo: DRC), to secure uranium during World War II while also preventing Nazi Germany from obtaining said mineral for its own nuclear weapons program. This is a very well-written book that effectively narrates the activities that members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency) carried out in the Belgian Congo. W. Alex Sánchez and Yves Bashonga review the book in The International Policy Digest Continue reading “The Unknown Congolese Heroes – Book Review: ‘Spies in the Congo: America’s Atomic Mission in World War II’”