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Why Barrack Obama has never included African writers in his summer reading list

UREPORT
By Alexander opicho | August 15th 2016

President Barrack Obama has now shared out the list of books he is going to be reading during his summer vacation in this August. The list includes both fiction and non-fiction; however it is so unfortunate that it does not have any book written by An African nor black American writer. The books so far on the list are;  Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. Collectively, these books amount to 2000 pages which president Obama is to read through in this August during a vacation that will last only a fortnight.

Even though president Obama reads literature about slavery and black lives, he has never picked any work into his summer vacation reading list by an African writer. Even in the Last year president Obama also did not pick any literary work by an African writer. The list which only had only non-African writers included; All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri , Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates ,  and Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow.

President Obama is legally an American but with substantial connections to Africa, both at cultural and psychological level. Given that he has a lot of blood relatives and family members in Africa. His choice not to read an African writer is a question of intellectual interest, at public and personal level.

Someone can easily point out that African writers are not writing to the standard that attracts heavyweight readers like Obama, or editorial and marketing muscles by African publishers are not able to access the white house but still it has to go challenged on a suggestion that there are currently very good African writers with artistic and intellectual worthies in the station of those writers that Obama has put on his reading list.

Personally, I could have recommended Brief History of Seven Killings by James Marlon, The Broken Drum by David Maillu, Cultural Forces in World Politics by Ali A. Mazrui, On the Post Colony by Achille Mbembe, A good Muslim and Bad Muslim by Mamdan Mahmood, Half of the Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Famished Road by Ben Okri and Set Forth by Dawn by Wole Soyinka. These works by Africans within and in the Diaspora deal with post-modern issues ranging from decolonizing knowledge, feminism, social inclusivity, Islam, human migrations, technology, poverty and finally pure aesthetics just for the sake of art.

Above all we have to appreciate Obama as a reading president. This does not happen everywhere. Like for the case of Kenyans, they cannot tell nor do they have any information about what their president and his deputy are currently reading. That is a challenge and hence some of us that relish and have a zest for reading are bound to wish a good reading experience and jovial holiday for president Obama during this summer vacation.

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