Humanities 211
Culture(s) & Literature of Africa
(Oral Arts &  Film)
Cora Agatucci

6 October 1998: Learning Resources

African Orature & Literature Links 

Africa Guide InterActive (The Kamusi Project - Yale Univ. Program in African Languages):
...The Arts
, includes Literature links:
...African Languages:
...Swahili Songs and Poetry:

Africa South of the Sahara: Literature (Karen Fung, Stanford Univ. Libraries)

African Authors: Chinua Achebe & Things Fall Apart (Cora Agatucci, HUM 211, Central Oregon Community College) 
Achebe Bibliography
...Achebe in His Own Words: Quotations, Interviews, Works
...Achebe's Things Fall Apart: Reading & Study Questions
...Achebe WWW Links

African Authors: Tsitsi Dangarembga & Nervous Conditions (Cora Agatucci, HUM 211, Central Oregon Community College) 
Study guide on the novel, bibliographical sources, links on Dangarembga's film Everyone's Child, her homeland Zimbabwe, and Shona culture, art, and music.

African Culture & Aesthetics by Malaika Mutere (African Studies, Howard Univ.) for Kennedy Center's African Odyssey Interactive:
See also Prof. Mutere's Introduction to African History and Cultural Life: An African Historical Framework (Kennedy Center's African Odyssey Interactive):

African Impact: Africa's 100 Best Books of the 20th Century, An initiative of the Zimbabwe International Book Fair, 2000-2001:
Titles Nominated
as of June 2000: 

African Languages: Links to Language Resources on the Web (George A. Smathers Libraries, Univ. of Florida): 

African Literature Association (H-Net Humanities & Social Sciences Online):

African Literature Study Guides (Prof. Paul Brians, Dept. of English, Washington State Univ.-Pullman) for works by Chinua Achebe, Nadine Gordimer and others:

African Postcolonial Literature in English:
...African Authors:
From Contemporary Postcolonial & Postimperial Literatures in English (George P. Landow, Prof. of English and Art History, Brown Univ.):

African Storytelling: Oral Traditions (Cora Agatucci, HUM 211, Central Oregon Community College), essay and bibliography

African Writers: Voices of Change (George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida): [accessed Dec. 2001]
The site offers general links and biographies of selected African writers, including:
...Chinua Achebe: 
...Ama Ata Aidoo:
...Kofi Awoonor: 
...Nadine Gordimer: 
...Bessie Head: 
...Ezekiel (Eskia) Mphahlele: 
...Ngugi wa Thiong'o: 

African Writers and Their Literature (Obianuju Mollel, final project for EdPsych 497/597 - Internet: Communicating, Accessing and Providing Information, Univ. of Alberta, Canada): sources on African literature collated from Heinemann Press, Univ. of Cape Town, Univ. of Florida, and other web sites. 
...Index of African Writers & Their Countries
(last updated 1999): 
...African Literature Links
(last updated 1999): 
...[General] African Links 
(last updated 1999): 

African Writers Series, Heinemann World (Heinemann Educational) searchable catalog by title, author, & country, with brief syposes and book ordering information:

Akan Goldweights and Proverbs (Martha Erlich, Cutting to the Essence, Shaping for the Fire, Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences, Peoria, Illinois, 1994):

*Ananzi South Africa: Search 
*"Ananzi's name comes from a Demi-God of West African mythology. Ananzi is a trickster who delights in duping animals and men: tales of his exploits are widespread in West Africa, the Caribbean and South America." 

Archives of Traditional Music at Indiana University offers ethnographic sound archives of "vocal and instrumental music, folktales, interviews, and oral history, as well as videotapes, photographs, and manuscripts," including recordings by Melville Herskovits and Harold Courlander, the Lee Nichols Collection of interviews with African authors, and the Dennis Duerden Collection of lectures, interviews, and readings by black poets and playwrights:

Awards for Books About Africa (Patricia S. Kuntz), African Studies Collection, Indiana Univ.-Bloomington Libraries: directory of award winners and finalists for awards such as the Booker Prize, Commonwealth Writers Prize, Nobel Prize, UNESCO Children's Book Prize, and more. 

Barefoot Press - South African poetry web site, which distributes free poetry pamphlets & lists other South African poetry magazines:

Ben Okri Page (Robert Bennett, Dept. of English, Univ. of California--Santa Barbara) offers biography, bibliography , criticism, & links to reviews on the Nigerian writer:

Bibliography of Criticism of South African Literature in English (maintained by Roy Muller, Dept. of English, Univ. of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa), lists journal & newspaper articles, books, conference papers on works by South African authors writing in English, indexed by author's last name::
Home page: University of the Free State, South Africa: 
Africa Studies programme: 
..."Why Study Africa?: 

Black Drama: 1850-Present

Sponsored by the Alexander Street Press, Black Drama is an ongoing database
that plans to integrate approximately 1,200 "rare and hard-to-find plays
written from the 1850s to the present by playwrights from North America,
English speaking Africa, the Caribbean, and other African Diaspora
countries." The collection will include previously unpublished plays by
writers such as Ed Bullins, Randolph Edmonds, Femi Euba, Zora Neale Hurston,
Langston Hughes, Willis Richardson, and many others. The collection
currently contains 207 plays by 64 playwrights. Quarterly releases will be
issued until the collection reaches its targeted goal. Searchable by actor,
author, character, play, scene, or performance, plays are accompanied by
reference materials, ancillary information, and a database of notable
performances. A list of the collection's contents are freely accessible to
the public; however, the actual database must be purchased and can be
downloaded on a server via magnetic tape or CD-ROM. The first of its kind,
this research collection of black theatre highlights and gives voice to the
often unacknowledged variations of black life, culture, and creativity. [MG, Scout Report 5/02]

Callaloo: a Journal of African-American and Africans Arts and Letters: Table of Contents only; subscribers can access full text of articles by and about black writers worldwide, some available to COCC students via COCC Library database subscription to Infotrac 2000:

A Celebration of Women Writers (Mary Mark Ockerbloom, Dept. of Computational Science, Carnegie Mellon Univ.) offers indexes of webresources on women writers organized by name and country:

Cultural Expressions (Baba Fa'lofin Elton Fonville, Lithonia, Georgia):

The Demise of Traditional Religion in African Culture, an essay by Mark Horsey (Univ. of Texas), discussing Bessie Head's "Looking for a Rain God" and Achebe's Things Fall Apart:

Electronic African Bookworm (Hans Zell Publishing Consultants) includes links on African publishing and
booktrade (esp. in South Africa), African writers, & Africana libraries:

H-Africa Network Home Page ( Humanities and Social Sciences OnLine consortium of scholarly lists; affiliated with African Studies Association/ASA) provides a forum for discussing Africa's history and culture and African studies in general, with H-Africa online discussions, tables of contents to Africanist journals, and more:

International Writing Program, Univ. of Iowa, includes biographies of participating African writers and some samples of their writing
Home Page: 
International Literature Today - Writers' biographies:
International Literature Today - Writing Samples: 

Introduction to Postcolonial Studies (Deepika Petraglia-Bahri, Postcolonial Studies at Emory Univ.):
with links to Authors:
...Terms & Issues:

Isibongo: The World Wide Poetry Web (Anette Horn)
Issues of this Online South African journal include information on African writers, critical articles & reviews, conference announcements, photos, and more. See, for example, Nadine Gordimer (from vol. 1, issue 1):

Library of Congress Home Page:
...Search the Online Catalog:

Modern African Literature - Eng 401/402a, Instructor Carol Yoder, Eastern Mennonite Univ., Harrisonburg, VA - 1998 Syllabus: 
Weekly Modern African Literature Schedule offers links to instructor's & students' weekly commentaries on course topics, dialectical journal entries on literary works, news, & special reports on films: 

Negritude (Dr. Hugh Blackmer, Science Librarian at Washington & Lee Univ.)
Of related interest: "Overview"
(Richard Marcus):
& Biography of Senghor

Nelson Mandela:

bullet Profile of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (ANC: African National Congress), with photos, maps, & links:
& more from the ANC's The Mandela Page:

including texts of Mandela's speeches:
"I Am Prepared to Die," (given at the opening of the defence case in the Rivonia Trial, Pretoria Supreme Court, 20 April 1964), and his acceptance speech for the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize (shared with then President de Klerk)
bullet Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela (Time Inc., 1994):
Continuing Mandela's "Freedom" on the Internet
(Online BookStore - OBS):
"Excerpts from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography Long Walk to Freedom (1994) " with photos.
bullet Frontline: The Long Walk of Nelson Mandela (PBS, 1999):
bullet The Poetry of Dennis Brutus: "Untitled" poem to Mandela (from Drum Voices Review 4.1-2 (1995); ed. Joseph D. McNair)

Annotated Bibliography [by student K.B., Winter 2003]

 Ayittey, George. Africa Betrayed. St Martin’s Press, 1992.
This book presented the many myths surrounding the beliefs toward Africans in general and the events that took place leading to apartheid in South Africa.  Ayittey states that the book is dedicated to the traditional rulers of Africa who never copied foreign systems to impose on their people, and to the thousands who were punished for expressing their viewpoints.  I found this book to be almost shocking in its description of the truth, and also saddening in the message it delivered in detailing the many accounts of tyranny that have taken place in Africa throughout its modern history.

Lewis, Stephen. The Economics of Apartheid. Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1990.

Lewis provides an extensive look into the numbers that turned dollars into sense for the situation that was South Africa with this book.  He provides many charts and graphs to display this information in a timely manner.  Lewis also details the aspects of the problems apartheid created for the blacks as far as finding lasting and/or decent employment. 

Mandela, Nelson. Mandela: An Illustrated Autobiography. Little, Brown and Co., 1996.

With all due respect to every other source I have mentioned, this was most likely my favorite.  It is a very intimate, thoughtful book, as it presents hundreds of rare photos of Mandela and his family as well as the situations and events that occurred within South Africa alongside Nelson’s own commentary, making it seem he is talking directly to you as you travel with him through the journey that was (and is) his life.

Mandela, Nelson. No Easy Walk to Freedom. Heinemann International, 1965.

This book mainly consists of the numerous notes letters Mandela himself wrote pertaining to his court hearings and also addressing the people of South Africa while involved in the fight against apartheid.  It also contains a short biography in its introduction and editor’s notes before each chapter that were useful.  I found this book to be particularly interesting, as it allowed me to read Mandela’s thoughts in his own words and get a sense for what he was trying to get across.

Mandela, Nelson. The Struggle Is My Life. Pathfinder Press, 1986.

 This book is very similar to No Easy Walk, and contained some of the same letters but also included other speeches and writings as well, making it a very worthwhile resource to the thoughts of Nelson Mandela.  The format in which it presented Mandela’s works was succinct and easy to follow, displaying them in chronological order.  This book was an excellent source to really see the edict in Mandela’s convictions as he displays them for the world to see.

Meredith, Martin. Nelson Mandela. St. Martin’s Press, 1998.

 This was a very lengthy book and definitely the most comprehensive source I found on Nelson, as it left out seemingly no detail on his life experiences and the interaction with those around him.  Meredith provides much information on the years before and during Mandela’s imprisonment while he was forgotten for the most part by the rest of the world, and explains how Mandela survived the hardships to become the leader of South Africa, and how his triumph was honored by the world that had forgotten him. 

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – ANC Biography.
This website provided a brief but thorough outline of Mandela’s life, with some interesting insights.  It was mostly just the facts, the main standout points which made for an at-a-glance type of an atmosphere.

Ngugi wa Thiong'o:

A primary document courtesy of
The Global Education Project: Culture as Resistance (funded by U.S. Department of Education Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Title VI grant program to Ramapo College of New Jersey). Ngugi Webpage biographical note: "Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, living in exile from Kenya, is the author of many books and plays, including Decolonizing the Mind, Petals of Blood, Devil on the Cross, and many others. He was jailed in 1976 by the Kenyan government because of his writings, and after his release in 1978, he left Kenya in 1982. He is a Professor of Comparative Literature at New York University."

The Nobel Prizes (searchable database/archives):
From the Nobel Foundation's Electronic Nobel Museum (ENM) Project:
...Wole Soyinka (Nigeria), 1986:
...Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt), 1988:
...Nadine Gordimer (South Africa), 1991:
...Derek Walcott (Santa Lucia), 1992:
...Nelson Mandela and Fredrik Willem de Klerk (South Africa), 1993:

Of related interest: "The Literature of the Whole World":
From Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Prize in Literature exhibition (Université Rennes 2, 6, avenue Gaston Berger, Rennes, France, held March 17, 1997 - April 13, 1997):

The Nobel Prize Internet Archive (Almaz Enterprises), also searchable:

Online Literary Criticism Collection - Africa, Internet Public Library / IPL Online: annotated web sites: 

Organization of Women Writers of Africa (OWWA, New York) founded by Jayne Cortex and Ama Ata Aidoo in 1991, to establish "links between professional women writers from Africa and its Diaspora":

Online Guide to South Africa (South African Embassy, Washington DC)
...South African Arts & Culture links:
...South African Literature overview:
...South African Film overview:

Poetry: Entertainment (South Africa Online): 
[last accessed Aug. 2001]

Reading Women Writers & African Literatures - English Version (Dept, of French Studies, School of European Languages, Univ. of Western Australia):
This site, also available in French, offers search capability and includes:
...Women Writers alphabetical list links to biographies & links:
...A Bibliography of Anglophone Women Writers

Reference Works on African & Caribbean Literatures in European Languages (John Rawlings, Stanford Univ., 2001): list of print sources: 

"Representation of the 'Native' in African and Latin American Literature, " essay by Lesley Wardwell (I think?) , Univ. of Texas, comparing Achebe's Things Fall Apart and Montaigne's Of Cannibals:

Research in African Literatures (div. of the Ohio State Universities, ed. F. Abiola Irele), is the "official journal of both the African Literature Association and the African Literatures Divison of the Modern Language Association," and some its full-text articles are available to COCC students via COCC Library's subscription to the Infotrac 2000 database. This website offers only online tables of contents for vols. 27 & 28 : 

Shanta, Storyteller, "uses the medium as an instrument to awaken respect, pride, and empathy in all people, by sharing a positive experience of African culture":

Spinning Africa: Stories from Life (Kennedy Center's African Odyssey Interactive) showcases the creative work of students and teachers of all ages who "share their own interpretation and understanding of African cultures through stories, music, dance and other forms of creative expression":

Tales of Wonder: Folk and Fairy Tales from Around the World (Richard Darsie)
...African Tales: "Tales 1-4 are taken from The Magic Drum: Tales from Central Africa, by W. F. P. Burton. London: Methuen & Co., 1961. Tales 5-9 are taken from The Fire on the Mountain and Other Stories from Ethiopia and Eritrea, by Harold Courlander and Wolf Leslau,....New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1950."  

UCT Poetry Web (Univ. of Cape Town, South Africa) 

Voice of the Shuttle (VoS) Web Page for Humanities Research (Alan Liu, Dept. of English, Univ. of Calif. at Santa Barbara), general research site for humanities and related topics.
...Africa: VoS English Literature - Other Literatures in English
...African: VoS Literatures (Other than English)

Voices: The Wisconsin Review of African Literatures (1st issue June 1999) will explore "issues of written and oral artistic production in Africa and the Diaspora in relation to the continent.":

West African Cosmogony: Origin Myths of Mande, Yoruba and Cameroon (People and Cultures of Africa: Anthropology 269, Franklin & Marshall College)

World Literature Today: A Literary Quarterly of the Univ. of Oklahoma (est. 1927), an international review featuring current literature throughout the world, "in all the major and many of the smaller languages of the world." World Literature also co-sponsors the prestigious Neustadt International Prize for Literature, won in 1994 by Kamau Brathwaite (Barbados); in 1996 by Assia Djebar (Algeria); and in 1998 by Nuruddin Farah (Somalia):

World Literature in English: Study Guides & Course Materials (Paul Brians, Washington State Univ.), including works by several African authors:

WoYaa! Literature links:

African Links Table of Contents
Humanities 211 - Cultures & Literatures of Africa: 
Instructor:  Cora Agatucci

URL of this webpage:
Last Updated: 26 July 2003