Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How to Write about Africa” as Want to Read:
How to Write about Africa
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How to Write about Africa

4.45  ·  Rating Details ·  126 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
This trio of sharp-witted essays takes irony to a new level. In 'How to Write About Africa', Wainaina dissects the cliché of Africa and the preconceptions dear to western writers and readers with ruthless precision. In the same fashion, ‘My Clan KC’ undresses the layers of meaning shrouding the identity of the infamous Kenya Cowboy, while ‘Power of Love’ bemusedly recollec ...more
Paperback, 52 pages
Published 2006 by Kwani Trust
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about How to Write about Africa, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about How to Write about Africa

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mattilda
How could you not love a book with this title that starts, "Some tips: sunsets and starvation are good."
Achieng Onguru
Sep 28, 2014 Achieng Onguru rated it it was amazing
Short and sweet! Here I was thinking 'I Dreamed Of Africa' was the most awesome piece of literature Ha!
Beth78
Aug 12, 2012 Beth78 added it
Sharp-witted and sarcastic look at how Africa is viewed by the rest of the world. This collection of essays made me laugh at how wrong Eurocentric views of Africa are. A must read for those interested in a satirical look at books written by non-Europeans.
Ifeyinwa
May 12, 2013 Ifeyinwa rated it really liked it
I gave it 4 stars because I was only interested in reading the article 'how to write about africa', which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Anna
Jan 28, 2011 Anna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: stories
Bright, smart, savage, and in a beautiful mini-book design.
Joel Ntwatwa
Sep 17, 2016 Joel Ntwatwa rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy Oyula
Jun 27, 2016 Nancy Oyula rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
His satirical style of writing is everything! I re read it twice because of how good the author placed his words. I died of laughter as I read every sentence. I was clapping inside, and dancing to the tune of his lines. In a very humorous way, Binyavanga has stated how non Africans paint Africa. I love this, I love how paragraph after paragraph, his message flows. This is a must read for everyone. Type of writing that leaves you wishing for more. I'd recommend it to all who love satire. I live f ...more
Patti Greene
Feb 08, 2014 Patti Greene rated it really liked it
This was an interesting little booklet! I enjoyed the part about writing about Africa, but then the book veered into talking about Kenya and Kenyans without any note on the front or back cover about covering Kenya. I was really looking for information about Africa in general! However, the author sounds witty and brilliant-I would love to meet him.
Alfons
Apr 13, 2013 Alfons rated it it was amazing
Ha, Ha but with sadness.
The parallels between his essay and history within America or for the matter oppressed groups and the oppressors is frightening and IMO true. Self serving across the board and highlights ignorance of the general populace.
Must read and one should take the time to reflect on the subject matter.
Mwerevu
May 19, 2015 Mwerevu rated it it was amazing
I love this essay. I don't know how many times I have read books written by foreigners and cringe at their description of the motherland and her people. I even try as much to avoid memoirs written by white people who were born or grew up in Africa. Utterly condescending to say the least. Whether they will read and learn from this essay and take it as an eye-opener, remains to be seen.
Aaron
Sep 13, 2015 Aaron rated it really liked it
Clever, humurous, and true. Illuminates the many cliches throughout western media's portrayal of Africa. Namely, that we can sum up these generalities cast blatantly at an entire continent. A must read for anyone who has experienced Africa and/or the literature about it.
Robykeem
Nov 15, 2013 Robykeem rated it it was amazing
A sarcastic book towards foreign writers who are looking to write about the African continent.
It addresses the usual cliches applied by those who've already written about the continent.
Hard hitting.
Conor
Dec 16, 2013 Conor rated it it was amazing
Using brutal satire, Wainaina absolutely eviscerates cliched Western journalism about Africa and the self-serving mentality of many of those who want to "help." And all in just a few small pages! Genius booklet that all Westerners dealing with Africa should read, even if it hurts us a little.
Darkowaa
Aug 12, 2015 Darkowaa rated it really liked it
Required reading for an anthropology class on African back at Midd (junior year). Biting satirical collection of essays - typical Wainaina!
Harrison Maina
Jan 30, 2016 Harrison Maina rated it it was amazing
Sarcasm, irony and the whole truth in between. Binyavanga, in between the humour, tells of our experiences, life and stories as told by the biased West - especially the western media.
William Kimeria
William Kimeria rated it it was amazing
May 27, 2012
Kailani
Kailani rated it it was amazing
Aug 15, 2015
Diewertje
Diewertje rated it really liked it
Dec 11, 2016
Suzanne
Suzanne rated it really liked it
Mar 27, 2015
Thendo Ndou
Thendo Ndou rated it liked it
Dec 27, 2013
Caitlin
Caitlin rated it it was amazing
May 21, 2013
Elena
Elena rated it really liked it
Aug 30, 2015
Julie
Julie rated it it was amazing
Jan 07, 2014
Mathias Wandera
Mathias Wandera rated it really liked it
Jun 19, 2015
Asuna
Asuna rated it it was amazing
May 08, 2015
Avoca
Avoca rated it it was amazing
Jan 12, 2017
Lola
Lola rated it really liked it
Feb 17, 2016
Lindsey
Lindsey rated it it was amazing
Feb 25, 2016
Vivienne Likhanga
Vivienne Likhanga rated it really liked it
Sep 06, 2016
Hugo
Hugo rated it really liked it
Jul 10, 2012
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Trouble with Nigeria
  • Smouldering Charcoal
  • Of Africa
  • Ghana: Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah
  • Dreams in a Time of War: A Childhood Memoir
  • African Myths of Origin
  • Sozaboy
  • Abyssinian Chronicles
  • Arrows of Rain
  • Profanations
  • Happiness, Like Water
  • Writing Beyond Race: Living Theory and Practice
  • The Invention of Africa: Gnosis, Philosophy, and the Order of Knowledge
  • The Sabi
  • Return To The Source: Selected Speeches Of Amilcar Cabral
  • Two Thousand Seasons
  • Efuru
  • On Black Sisters Street
681372
Binyavanga Wainaina is a short story writer, essayist, and journalist.

He is the founding editor of Kwani?, a leading African literary magazine based in Kenya, and he directs the Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists at Bard College.

He won the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing, and has written for many journals, including Vanity Fair, National Geographic, One Story, Tin House, Vir
...more
More about Binyavanga Wainaina...

Share This Book