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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
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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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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 about Binyavanga Wainaina...

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