So I finished my first book of 2016! "We Need New Names" by No-violet Bulawayo was a good read. Not totally enthralling, but good. A coming of age story that walks you through the life of a young girl navigating the oppressive structures that are race, gender, and class in Zimbabwe and later Detroit, MI. I must say, it was similar to Americanah, as in it read like a long ass blog post, different stories and characters intermingling in a sometimes haphazard way. Nonetheless, it is worth a read for those African women who have left their countries behind at a young age, and live the tug of war life between who they once were in Africa, and what they are becoming away from her. Anywho, read it and let me know what you think :)
Now, I am currently in Senegal on a long work trip and am right in the middle of my second book (remember 2016 I'm reading a book a month by a female African writer.) I am reading "Mighty be our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayers, and Sex Changed a Nation at War" by Leymah Gbowee (Nobel Peace Prize winner for her peace keeping and reconciliation work in Liberia.) WHEW, talk about a REAL BOOK. This is Leymah's first hand account of living through a decade of war in Liberia, and how she helped mobilize thousands of women for peace and change across war torn West Africa. This is not only a life story, this is a history lesson on how Liberia's ethnic divides originally started. From the arrival of "Americo-Liberians", to the public execution of Samuel Doe, and to the arrest of Charles Taylor; Leymah was there and described every raw detail. This is a living book, that still speaks to the power and resilience of women in conflict. I can honestly say, this is one of the most important books I've read. HANDS DOWN. It pairs the brutally honest stories of African women raped with knives, breasts cut open, with the history of an African nation at war, two narratives that belong together but are often separated for some reason. Very graphic, and emotional, but necessary for all black women to read.