Beyond Ankara Print and Fufu: 5 Must Read Books on the African Woman's Experience

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by Sofia Maame @sofiamaame

Thanks to Ankara Print & series like "An African City", being a stylish, beat faced African woman is EVERYTHING! Truth be told your favorite YouTube blogger is probably Nigerian and you can’t seem to figure out how she consistently slays her natural hair. It’s exciting to be closer to our roots, but we should also know being an African women is more than having eccentric style and laid hair.

These 5 books will introduce you to the reality, strength and woes of African womanhood from the perspective of African women.

Americanah-Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
You may have heard of the author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie over Beyonce’s “Flawless” feminist anthem. What you may not know is her ability to convey the realities of traveling to the U.S from Nigeria through the eyes of a driven 20 year old. Americanah speaks to the insecurities many African women (all women) face when venturing to a new place. In this novel the main character rediscovers herself through love, ambition and finding refuge in a place where she thought she didn’t belong.

We Need New Names- NoViolet Bulawayo
Just when you thought Raven cleared up all name politics (not -_-) We Need New Names takes you on a journey through Zimbabwe to rediscover the power of a name. Today more than ever, authentic genuine names are being replaced with what is considered to be more marketable (Ashley v. Akhumzi ). NoViolet thinks that is absurd and you won’t be able to miss her frustrations jumping out on each page. What is in a name anyways?

The Slave Girl-Buchi Emecheta
Imagine the terror of being tricked and taken from your home to an unfamiliar land. This is the story of Buchi Emecheta’s The Slave Girl, although she never crosses the border. Could you fathom being a slave in an area that is only a few miles from where you’re from? What about being viewed as less than by women who resemble you but see you as nothing more than a house girl (indentured servant). If you’ve ever wondered about slavery long before the Transatlantic Slave Trade, The Slave Girl will leave you stunned.

Nervous Conditions
- Tsitsi Dangarembga
Rhodesia during the 1960s- When the ideals of feminism are liken to a curse in most African countries. This is a year where it isn’t uncommon for a young African girl to diminish her dreams for the sake of pleasing her society. Nervous Conditions explores the life of Tambu, who isn’t too young or too old to acknowledge the chains of patriarchy and how it whips her soul. Will she ever be free?

Bailey's Cafe- Gloria Naylor
If you’re looking for a new way to understand the black experience overall, you’ll want to join in at the cafe. Naylor takes you through a series of experiences from Black women across continents who have nothing in common but sipping tea. Despite being stepped on by everything and everyone, There is something universal about a Black Woman’s ability to endure trying times. Bailey’s Cafe is anything from the ordinary in the way it conveys actuality.

And there you have it, 5 books that will leave you feeling a little bit closer to your African sisters (Besides bomb twists outs).

Photo: Shutterstock

Sofia Maame (Mah-May) is a Publicist + Editorial Assistant. Follow her- @sofiamaame