Review: With interest in African American literature now happily a fact of our cultural life, it is time for us to turn our attention to African literature, which is as rich and various, as diverse and compelling, as the continent of African itself. This superb anthology will bring African literature front and center, where it belongs.
-Henry Louis Gates, Harvard University
This excellent anthology is to be welcomed, both for the quality of its material and for the fact that it will fill a growing need. I congratulate Anthonia Kalu and all whose work is in the volume for their contributions.
-Dennis Brutus, University of Pittsburgh and University of KwaZulu-Natal
Dr. Kalu has assembled the best of the oral and written traditions of African literature into an anthology comprehensive in scope…. Anthology is great news for African literature, and a boon to literature lovers.
-Tanure Ojaide, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Description: Ranging from ancient cultures to the present century, from Africa’s rich oral traditions to its contemporary fiction, poetry, and drama, this long-awaited comprehensive anthology reflects the enduring themes of African literature.
The selections, drawn from the length and breadth of the continent, reveal the richness of African creativity. Readers will find myths and epics; works by such well-known figures as Chinua Achebe, Mariama Ba; Bessie Head, Tayeb Salih, Woel Soyinka, and Ngugi wa Thiong’o; and fiction and poetry by myriad new writers.
The pieces are organized chronologically within geographic region and enhanced by both introductory material and biographical notes on each writer. An author/title index and suggestions for further reading are also included.
Contents: Introduction • Part 1 The Oral Tradition • North Africa: The king climbs to the sky on a ladder •The king joins the sun god • The dead king hunts and eats the gods •The instruction of prince Hardjedef • The shipwrecked sailor • West Africa: Why the sun and the moon live in the sky • The origin of death • Contest at the baobab tree • Three fast men • Sun god brings iron to man • Anansi borrows money • Àjàpá and Àáyá onírù-méje (the seven-tailed colobus monkey) • The song of gimmile • D.T. Niane, The epic of Sundiata • Gasire’s lute • How twins came among the Yoruba • Iron is received from ogun • Central Africa: The running of ture and one-leg • Ngomba’s basket • Nchonozo Nkila’s dance drum • The woman who killed her co-wife • The mwindo epic • East Africa and the horn • Wanjiru, sacrificed by her people • The legend of Kintu • Adventures of Abunuwas, trickster hero • The brothers, sun and moon, and the pretty girl • How Makeda visited Jerusalem, and how Mmenelik became king • The story of Liongo: A tale of the Swahili people • A battle of Eghal Shillet: A Somali story • Love song • Fortitude • Southern Africa: Mantis creates an eland • Why the hippo has a stumpy tail • Nwashisisana, the hare • Untombinde, the tall maiden • Zimwa-mbanje the hemp smoker • Dingiswayo, son of Jobe of the Mthethwa clan • Nandi, daughter of Mbengi of the Langeni clan • Mnkabayi, daughter of Jama of the Zulu clan • Senzangakhona • Part 2 Early African Autobiographies: The Slave Trade: Olaudah Equiano, Equiano’s travels • Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, The African travels of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq • Ali Eisami Gazirmabe, narrative of the travels of Ali Eisami • Samuel Ajayi Crowther, the Narrative of Samuel Ajayi Crowther • Petro Kilekwa, Slave boy to p