Africana: an encyclopedia of an amazing continent
Kim Chakanetsa, illustrated by Mayowa Alabi
Wide Eyed Editions
For this large format book, author and broadcast journalist, Kim Chakanetsa, divides the African continent (the second largest in the world) into five regions – north, east, central, west, and southern – the following topics being covered in each region: a timeline of important dates, people and culture,
wildlife and landscapes, famous people (change makers and superstars), and snapshots of interesting facts. There’s also a final section called ‘Global Africa’. Even before starting to read about the five regions, readers are confronted with some uncomfortable facts about the slave trade and its continuing impact upon descendants of African slaves in such places as the US where they are still living with the consequences of slavery even today.
However, there is a great deal to celebrate, not least the wonderful landscapes,
animals and cultures and those important change-makers. Let me just mention a few of those: first my all time hero, Nelson Mandela who spend 27 years in prison and is now thought of as the father of South Africa’s democracy. From Western Africa there’s award-winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, most famous for Half a Yellow Sun, Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, singer-songwriter Miriam Makeba, another campaigner against the apartheid system in South Africa.
Strikingly illustrated, highly informative -also included are words of wisdom from various countries, flags and with an excellent glossary – this is a great introduction to a vast continent presented in an accessible way. A book for classrooms, families and libraries.