presented by World Music Productions


The African Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison at (608) 263-2171.

Website: Check this for other significant websites related to Africa under Africa-Related Links.


BOOKS - Resources for Young Readers:

Aardema, Verna. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale. New York Dial Books for Young People. 1975

Achebe, Chinua. Chike and the River. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1981

Alexander, Lloyd. The Fortune - Tellers. New York: Dutton Children's Books. 1992 Notable Children's Book awards. A carpenter in the West African country of Cameroon goes to a fortune teller and finds the predictions about his future coming true in an unusual way.

Cowen-Fletcher, Jane. It Takes a Village. New York: Macmillan/MaGraw-Hill. 1994 On market day in a small village in Benin, Yemi tries to watch her little brother, Kokou and finds that the entire village is watching out for him.

Diop, Birago. Mother Crocodile Maman-Caiman, translated and adapted by Rosa Guy. New York: Delacorte. 1981 Senegal setting

Grifalconi, Ann. The Village of Round and Square Houses. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1986

Kitsao, Jay (editor). Mcheshi goes to the Market=Mcheshi aenda sokoni. Nairobi, Kenya: Jacaranda Designs, 1991 Written in English and Swahili

Mcheshi goes to the Game Park=Mcheshi aenda hifadhi ya wanyama. 1992. Mcheshi's uncle, a game ranger, takes her and her brother for a ride through a game park. Written in English and Swahili.

Williams, Karen Lynn. When Africa was Home. New York: Orchard Books, 1991 Notable Children's Book awards. After returning to the United States, Peter's whole family misses the warmth and friendliness of their life in Africa; so Peter's father looks for another job there.

General Surveys, Politics, and History:

Horowitz, Michael M., Peoples and Cultures of the Caribbean. Garden City, New York: The Natural History Press, 1971  a dated but useful survey of the Caribbean.

July, Robert W., A History of the African People. New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1970  a readable and general African history; look for an update.

Mandela, Nelson, Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Boston: Little, Brown, 1994  by South Africas current president and world leader.

Martin, Phyllis M. and Patrick OMeara, Africa (Third Edition). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995  an update of an important survey of Africa.

Shillington, Kevin, History of Africa. N.Y.: St. Martins Press, 1995  a recent edition of a survey of African history.

Books on Arts and Literature:

Ngugi wa Thiongo, Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature. London: Currey/Heinemann, 1986  an important Kenyan author explains his reason for abandoning English in his novels and dramas in favor of his first language of Gikuyu.

Thompson, Robert Farris, Flash of the Spirit. New York: Vintage Books, 1984  an arts teacher bridges the gap between African arts and those found in the diaspora.

Oral Traditions:

Abrahams, Roger, African Folktales: Traditional Stories of the Black World. New York: Pantheon Books, 1983.

Abrahams, Roger, Afro-American Folktales: Stories from Black Traditions in the New World. New York: Pantheon Books, 1985.

Leslau, Charlotte and Wolf, and Jeff Hill, African Proverbs. New York: P. Pauper Press, 1982.

Niane, D.T., Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali. Essex: Longman, 1965  a retold prose version of the Mande epic detailing the exploits of the founder of the empire. This epic, referring to events in the early 13th century, is still performed today.

Scheub, Harold, The African Storyteller. Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt, 1990.


Achebe, Chinua, Things Fall Apart. Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett, 1959 (Nigeria)  one of the first and most important novels to deal with changes experienced in an African society during the early years of colonialism.

Achebe, Chinua, A Man of the People. Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, 1967 (Nigeria)  dealing with the endemic corruption that eventually led to a coup. Foreshadowing real world events in Nigeria, this is a case of life imitating art.

Armah, Ayi Kwei, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born. New York: Collier, 1969 (Ghana)  a pessimistic view of  options available to intellectuals disillusioned by the institutionalized corruption that usurped the grand visions of independence.

Ba, Mariama, So Long a Letter. London: Heinemann, 1981 (Senegal)  one of the first and most important novels recounting the challenges faced by an intellectual woman in a polygamous world.

Dangarembga, Tsitsi, Nervous Conditions. Seattle: Seal Press, 1988 (Zimbabwe)  a contemporary novel about a girls coming of age as she leaves her village to attend school in an African city.

Head, Bessie, Maru. London: Heinemann, 1972 (Botswana)  a lyrical account of struggling with racial prejudices among local populations.

La Guma, Alex, A Walk in the Night and Other Stories. Evanston: Northwestern, 1967 (South Africa)  a stark and dramatic view of the injustices suffered during the Apartheid era.

Mahfouz, Naguib, Midaq Alley. Washington, D.C.: Three Continents Press, 1981 (Egypt)  the Nobel prize winners classic early novel potraying local life in post-war Cairo.

Salih, Tayeb, The Wedding of Zein. London: Heinemann, 1978 (Sudan)  three short stories of village life along the Nile, often in conflict with outside influences.

Sembene, Ousmane, Gods Bits of Wood. London: Heinemann, 1970 (Senegal)  the fictional recounting of the Dakar-Niger railway workers strike of 1947-48 as a seminal event in the quest for independence. It also presents his vision of a new Africa, one which uses older traditions to construct a broader, less parochial sense of community.

Sembene, Ousmane, The Money Order with White Genesis. London: Heinemann, 1972 (Senegal)  two short stories; the first is the basis of Sembenes film Mandabi, a tragic comedy which describes the overwhelming frustration experienced by a poor man seeking to cash a remittance from his son in France.


from California Newsreel: Keita by Dani Kouyate (Burkina Faso, 1995)  the story of tensions between two worlds and their educational values. Examining the meaning of the epic tradition in a modern urban setting.

Finzan by Cheikh Oumar Sissoko (Mali, 1990)  a critical view of a womans choices in a polygamous world. The delightful humor helps in dealing with a hard look at important issues such as the inheritance of a deceased brothers wife and excision.

Le Franc by Djibril Diop Mambety (Senegal, 1994)  a delightful if obscure satirical representation of the devaluation of African franc zone currency by the French in 1994.

Picc Mi (The Little Bird) by Mansour Sara Wade (Senegal, 1992)  a lyrical portrayal of the harsh life faced by poor children on the streets of Dakar.

Fary, LAnesse (Fary, the Donkey) by Mansour Sara Wade (Senegal, 1989)  a cinematic presentation of a West African morality tale showing the perils of questing for the perfect mate.

Yeelen by Souleymane Ciss (Mali, 1987)  a film epic set in the distant past depicting a generational conflict between a father and son using magical powers.

from New Yorker Films: Guelwaar by Ousmane Sembene (Senegal, 1993)  a contemporary critique of foreign aid emerging from an often humorous conflict between local religious factions.

Mandabi (Le Mandat or The Money Order) by Ousmane Sembene (Senegal, 1968)  a light-hearted but serious treatment of the insurmoutable obstacles facing the marginalized poor in the big city.

Yaaba by Idrissa Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso, 1989)  two opposites, an elderly woman and a young boy, befriend one another in the face of village prejudices.

A World Apart, A Dry White Season and Cry Freedom are popular and readily available films related to the anti- Apartheid struggle in South Africa.


Older traditions:

Toumani Diabate, Dembo Konte and Kausu Kuyateh, Amadu Bonsang Jobarteh.

Jali Kunda:

Griots of West Africa and Beyond. Ellipsis Arts, Roslyn, NY - PO Box 305, Email: - A book including explanations, interviews, and historical notes of African music and the place griots hold in society. A music CD included with music from Senegal, Gambia, etc. played on drums, Kora and many more.

More contemporary traditions or new uses of older tradition:

Baaba Maal, Oumou Sangare, Salif Keita, Youssou NDour, Ismael Lo, Miriam Makeba, Francis Bebey, Ali Farka Toure, King Sunny Ade, Fela,


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