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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

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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.”

Read Also: Egypt builds world’s largest museum

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.”

Culture

UK returns Ghana’s royal artefacts looted 150 years ago in ‘loan deal’

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The United Kingdom has returned 32 royal artefacts looted from Ghana’s Asante Kingdom in the 19th Century in a “loan deal” agreed on by the two governments last year.

The artefacts which are mainly golden royal regalia, were looted over 150 years ago from the Asante Palace in Kumasi during the Anglo-Asante Wars, including the infamous Sargrenti War of 1874.

The revered items which were returned to the West African country by the British Museum (BM) and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), will however, will be on loan for an initial three years and renewable for another three years.

A statement by the the Asante Palace on Thursday stated that the loan deal is not with the Ghanaian government but with the current traditional ruler of the Ashanti people, Otumfo Osei Tutu II.

The idea behind the loan deal, according to local media, is based on the premise of legal restrictions in the UK which have made it impossible to return the artefacts permanently.

The return of the artefacts also coincides with the silver jubilee anniversary of Asantehene Osei Tutu II, who first started the negotiations in May last year.

“Gold and silver regalia, associated with the Asante royal court, will be displayed at the Palace Museum as part of a long-term loan commitment by the Victoria & Albert and the British Museum,” the Asantehene’s Palace said.

It added that Tutu will receive the gold artefacts which are the symbol of the Asante traditional authority. in specially designed Belgian cases in Kumasi, after which the Manhyia Palace Museum will be closed for three weeks for installation works and encasing.

Many of the items which will be seen in Ghana for the first time in 150 years, include 15 pieces from the British Museum and 17 from the Victoria & Albert Museum and will be on display and open to the public in May.

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American rap icon Ja Rule lands in Ghana for a charity project

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American rap icon, Jeffrey Bruce Atkins Sr., popularly known as Ja Rule, has landed in Ghana for a charity project that will oversee the construction of a classroom block at the Nuaso Anglican Primary School.

Ja Rule who announced his trip to the West African country via a social media post, said he will touch down in Accra on Wednesday, April 10th, for groundbreaking event “to make an impact on lives in the West African nation.”

The “Mesmerize” rapper explained that the project which is m an initiative of an international NGO, “Pencils of Promise”, is seeking to “bring quality education to kids around the world.”

“Groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a classroom block at Nuaso Anglican Primary School, Ghana,” Ja Rule said, while confirming his trip to Ghana.

On a flyer promoting the trip on his X handle, the American star wrote on Tuesday:

“Building towards the future… Ghana see you tomorrow.”

The post which generated a lot of excitement among fans of the rapper and other social media users in Ghana, saw many welcoming the visit and the initiative.

Joy FM top presenter, Lexis Bill, took to the social media to write:

“Awesome!!!! Ghana loves you 🇬🇭. Ghana is grateful,” while popular TV Presenter, Blaqueboy, also chipped in with: “Love from the motherland, welcome back to this side.”

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