Former United States’ President Barack Obama has released a list of African books he recommends for his annual summer reading list relating to his travels to his ancestral homeland Kenya.

In addition, Obama will travel to South Africa, where he will give a speech in honor of Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday. At the end of his trip he will speak to participants of his Africa program, which brings together 200 emerging leaders from across the continent to explore new ways to take on the biggest challenges in their communities.


Books included on his list:

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Long Walk to Freedom is an autobiography written by South African President Nelson Mandela. The book profiles his early life, coming of age, education, 27 years in prison and his ascension to unifying president, leader, and global icon.


Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The book deals with the love story of Ifemelu and Obinze, who get separated while making their way to the U.S. and the UK, raising universal questions of race and belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora and the search for identity and a home.



Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe 

Things Fall Apart is a novel written by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. Published in 1959, its story chronicles pre-colonial life in the south-eastern part of Nigeria and paints a picture of the arrival of the Europeans during the late nineteenth century and its influence from Christian missionaries to British colonialism.


A Grain of Wheat von Ngugi wa Thiong’o

A chronicle of the events leading up to Kenya’s independence and a compelling story of how the transformative events of history weigh on individual lives and relationships. A Grain of Wheat follows a group of villagers whose lives have been transformed by gaining independence. The story focuses on the character Mugo, the village’s chosen hero and a man haunted by a terrible secret.