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Achebe, Mandela, Thiong’o, Adichie among Obama’s top picks for summer reading

Former President Barack Obama of the United States is visiting Africa this week, and will have stopovers in South Africa and Kenya



Former President Barack Obama of the United States is visiting Africa this week, and will have stopovers in South Africa and Kenya.

He took to his Facebook handle to announce the impending visit and his love for African culture and literature. In doing so, he picked some of Africa’s top novelists and recommended their works for summer reading. Among these were Nelson Mandela (Long Walk to Freedom ), Chinua Achebe (Things Fall Apart), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Americanah), and Ngugi wa Thiong’o ( A Grain of Wheat).

In Obama’s words:

“This week, I’m traveling to Africa for the first time since I left office – a continent of wonderful diversity, thriving culture, and remarkable stories.

I was proud to visit sub-Saharan Africa more times than any other sitting President, and I’ll return this week to visit Kenya and South Africa.

“In South Africa, the Obama Foundation will convene 200 extraordinary young leaders from across the continent and I’ll deliver a speech to mark the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.

“Kenya, of course, is the Obama ancestral home. I visited for the first time when I was in my twenties and I was profoundly influenced by my experiences – a journey I wrote about in my first book, Dreams from My Father.

“Over the years since, I’ve often drawn inspiration from Africa’s extraordinary literary tradition. As I prepare for this trip, I wanted to share a list of books that I’d recommend for summer reading, including some from a number of Africa’s best writers and thinkers – each of whom illuminate our world in powerful and unique ways.”

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Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

“A true classic of world literature, this novel paints a picture of traditional society wrestling with the arrival of foreign influence, from Christian missionaries to British colonialism. A masterpiece that has inspired generations of writers in Nigeria, across Africa, and around the world.”

A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o

“A chronicle of the events leading up to Kenya’s independence, and a compelling story of how the transformative events of history weigh on individual lives and relationships.”

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

“Mandela’s life was one of the epic stories of the 20th century. This definitive memoir traces the arc of his life from a small village, to his years as a revolutionary, to his long imprisonment, and ultimately his ascension to unifying President, leader, and global icon. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand history – and then go out and change it.”

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“From one of the world’s great contemporary writers comes the story of two Nigerians making their way in the U.S. and the UK, raising universal questions of race and belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for identity and a home.”

The Return by Hisham Matar

“A beautifully-written memoir that skillfully balances a graceful guide through Libya’s recent history with the author’s dogged quest to find his father who disappeared in Gaddafi’s prisons.”

The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes

“It’s true, Ben does not have African blood running through his veins. But few others so closely see the world through my eyes like he can. Ben’s one of the few who’ve been with me since that first presidential campaign. His memoir is one of the smartest reflections I’ve seen as to how we approached foreign policy, and one of the most compelling stories I’ve seen about what it’s actually like to serve the American people for eight years in the White House.”


#JusticeForAKA becomes most trending hashtags as South African celebrities seek answers to murder of rapper



The hashtag, #JusticeForAKA, created shortly after the murder of South African rapper, Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, popularly known as AKA, outside a Durban restaurant last month, has become the number one trending hashtags in the country.

Top celebrities and fans of the much loved rapper have been retweeting the hashtag with a collective outrage as the case seems to be getting cold six weeks after his gruesome killing with the police seeming not to make any headway in apprehending the killers.

According to IOL, since AKA’s murder, the hashtag #JusticeForAKA has become a rallying cry by his colleagues and fans for the government and police officials to prioritise his case and make sure that his killers are promptly brought to justice.

“Since Thursday, the hashtag has been trending across South African Twitter as fans and celebrities express their disappointment at the situation,” the authoritative media outlet wrote.

“Over the past 24 hours, the likes of L-Tido, Rouge and Wanda Baloyi have joined thousands of fans in calling for justice,” IOL wrote.

One of the country’s top stars, L-Tido posted on his Twitter handle:

“It’s been a month and half still no developments and progress on this case. This happened right next to the police station, on a busy road with cameras. Our justice system keeps on failing us!!!! This is ridiculous #JusticeForAKA.”

Musician Wanda Baloyi also weighed in:

“It really baffles me how there is no progress towards the findings of the killers. I mean they pretty much weren’t disguised. What exactly is the delay?”

“I don’t understand. So killing is easy, you just kill and walk away?? Im not understanding #JusticeForAKA”
— Wanda Baloyi (@wandabaloyi)

Rapper Rouge also commented on the issue with this post:

“Yoh Kiernan was in love with the Art. I’m still in disbelief. He seemed immortal. But I guess that’s what his music has done now. Immortalised his legacy. #JusticeForAKA.”

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Nigerian superstar, Rema’s song, ‘Calm Down’ sets new African record on Billboard Hot 100



Nigeria singing sensation, Rema who birth name is Divine Ikubor, has once again, entered the record books as his hit single, “Calm Down”, is now the highest charting African song on the Billboard Hot 100.

Authoritative music chart platform, Chart Data, on Wednesday, reported that the international remix of “Calm Down” featuring Selena Gomez, broke the records after it appeared at number 8 on the latest Billboard Hot 100.

The good news means that “Calm Down” has surpassed Wizkid’s “Essence” remix which featured Tems and Justin Bieber, as the highest charting African song on Billboard Hot 100, and “continues to make its mark as one of the biggest crossover Afrobeats song in history.”

“Calm Down” which was released in February 2022, is one of the lead singles on Rema’s debut album “Raves & Roses” and has enjoyed impressive success both locally and globally.

The remix with Gomez has also further propelled it to huge international success.

It is also ranked as the most-watched Nigerian music video on YouTube, surpassing over 230 million views as at Thursday, as well as getting over a billion streams across all platforms.

The single also earned Rema its first RIAA platinum plaque with expected sales of over two million units, according to Chart Data forecasts.

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