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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

Egyptian actress, Menna Shalaby, arrested for possession of drugs

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Popular Egyptian actress, Menna Shalaby was on Friday, arrested at the Cairo International Airport for allegedly being in possession of drugs.

Local news outlet, Shourouk TV, reports that Shalaby was arrested after security agents found 12 bags of sweets stuffed with marijuana in her possession as she returned to Egypt from New York.

The news outlet added that after her arrest, Shalaby was then referred to the El Nozha Public Prosecution and that an investigation into the incident is currently underway.

Egyptian customs officials say a report has been filed against the actress while she will remain at the airport until investigations are finalised.

Shalaby who is one of Egypt’s biggest actresses, started her acting career in 2001 and has starred in several movies and TV productions.

She was the first Egyptian Actress to be nominated for the Emmy Awards and with over three million followers on Instagram, Shalaby enjoys large popularity among Egypt’s top TV stars.

According Egyptian narcotic laws, cannabis possession is punishable with a minimum of one year in prison plus a fine of at least 1,000 Egyptian pounds or both.

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Culture

Nigerian gospel Singer, Sammie Okposo, slumps, dies at 51

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Frontline Nigerian gospel singer, music producer and actor, Sammy Okposo, on Friday morning, slumped and died at the age of 51 in Lagos, according to the entertainment industry sources.

Okposo who was one of Nigeria’s most celebrated gospel singers with several albums to his credit, was also the CEO of Zamar Entertainment where he groomed several gospel artistes who went on to do great things.

He also collaborated with many gospel artists who used such opportunities to get to the pinnacle of their careers.

Okposo who was popularly known as the “Welu Welu Master” released his first album Addicted in 2004 and went on to bag multiple awards including KORA Best Gospel Artiste in Africa (2006), Crown SABC Best of African Gospel (2014), Afro Hollywood UK Best Gospel Artiste (2005), NEA Best Gospel Artiste of the Year (2007&2013), and NMA Best Contemporary Gospel Artiste among others.

Early in 2022, Okposo was involved in a controversy with his wife, Ozioma, after he admitted he was involved in an extramarital affair.

Taking to his Instagram page on January 24, Okposo had apologised to Ozioma for his infidelity after a lady known as :African Doll” had accused him of impregnating and abandoning her.

The gospel musician also apologized to his fans and promised he would focus on restoration, seek forgiveness and make his marriage work.

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