Book covers of 'Thomas Sankara Speaks', 'Freedom is a Constant Struggle' and 'Let My People Go'.

Here are 7 Important Books to Read About the Revolution

Here are 7 Important Books to Read About Revolution

Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane hand-picks 7 books written by Black authors reflecting on the revolution. As there is continued political instability across the African continent (and the world), these books put into words the difficult experiences through which many Black people are living.

Black people are thinkers and have been thinking about change and revolution for a long time. I often return to Audre Lorde whose thinking has shaped me in many ways. In February of 1982, she delivered an address titled Learning from the 60s as part of the celebration of the Malcolm X weekend at Harvard University. In her address, she said that, "As Black people, if there is one thing we can learn from the 60s, it is how infinitely complex any move for liberation must be." In this, Lorde urged us to understand that any move for our liberation is one that is complex.

Reflecting on her words now, we see how they ring true when observing large scale global movements such as #BlackLivesMatter, #EndSARS, #EndAnglophoneCrisis, the global pandemic and several others. These movements have reminded us that the quest for liberation itself is undeniably complex and that it requires us to think quite deeply and sincerely about what liberation actually looks like.

As Lorde says in her speech: "[R]evolution is not a one-time event. It is becoming always vigilant for the smallest opportunity to make a genuine change in established and outgrown responses. For instance, it is learning to address each other's difference with respect." Although books will not lead the revolution, they are our tools to begin to concepetualise what others before us have done and how we can improve on what is already there. These books help us to begin to think and to imagine our freedoms particularly as Black people.

Below is a list of 7 important books written by Black authors about the revolution.

Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane is a South African advocate and co-founder of the literature podcast, Cheeky Natives. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

1. 'How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective' by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Image supplied by Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane.

This book is a collection of interviews featuring the founders of the Collective mainly Barbara Smith, Beverly Smith, Demita Frazier. It also features Alicia Garza, co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter and as a bonus, a comment by Barbara Ransby, who remarks on the creation of the Collective and how it especially inspires her. The Collective was one of the most important organisations to develop out of the anti-racism and women's liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The conversations in the book are reflections on the legacy of the Collective with regards to Black feminism and its impact on today's struggles. As Frazier says: "the point of talking about the Collective is not to be nostalgic; rather, we talk about it because Black women are still not free."

2. 'Freedom is a Constant Struggle' by Angela Y. Davis

This is a collection of essays, interviews and speeches by the revolutionary Angela Y. Davis. These musings illuminate the connections between struggles against state violence and oppression throughout history and around the world. They are a reflection on the importance of Black feminism, intersectionality and prison abolitionism. Davis masterfully discusses the legacies of Black freedom movements. Additionally, she says in an interview with Frank Barat that is included in the book: "I would say that our struggles mature, they produce new ideas, new issues and new terrains on which we engage in the quest for freedom. Like Nelson Mandela, we must be willing to embrace the long walk toward freedom."

3. 'The Black Consciousness Reader' by Baldwin Ndaba, Therese Owen, Masego Panyane, Rabbie Serumula and Janet Smith

Image supplied by Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane.

This book was published in the year of the 40th anniversary of Stephen Bantu Biko's murder. The book is an essential collection of history, interviews and opinions about Black Consciousness. It examines how the proper acknowledgement of Blackness brings a greater love, a broader sweep of heroes and a wider understanding of intellectual and political influences. The book shines a spotlight on other significant Black Consciousness personalities such as Vuyelwa Mashalaba, Assata Shakur, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Onkgopotse Tiro, to name but a few. It is a perfect reading companion for both I Write What I Like and The Testimony of Steve Biko.

4. 'Freedom in Our Lifetime: The Collected Writings of Anton Muziwakhe Lembede' edited by Robert R. Edgar and Luyanda ka Msumza

Anton Lembede was the first president of South Africa's African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL). He was known for this sharp intellect, fiery personality and unwavering commitment to the struggles at hand. This book contributes to the liberation canon by acknowledging Lembede's early contribution to the freedom movement and his passionate and eloquent articulation of the African-centred philosophy he called "Africanism".

​5. 'From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation' by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Image supplied by Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane.

This book is about the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and the persistence of structural inequality including mass incarceration and Black unemployment. Taylor argues that this new struggle against police violence holds the potential to reignite a broader push for Black liberation. Robin D.G Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination, said of the book: "Class Matters! In this clear-eyed, historically informed account of the latest wave of resistance to state violence, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor not only exposes the canard of color-blindness but reveals how structural racism and class oppression are joined at the hip. If today's rebels ever expect to end inequality and racialized state violence, she warns, then capitalism must also end. And that requires forging new solidarities, envisioning a new social and economic order, and pushing a struggle to protect Black lives to its logical conclusion: a revolution capable of transforming the entire nation."

​6. Thomas Sankara Speaks - A collection of selected writings

Sankara says that, "We must dare to invent the future. Everything man is capable of imagining, he can create." It is this call that we must heed––the invention of the future. This requires imagination and as South African Professor Pumla Gqola encourages, it requires that we must do some "dream work". This book brings us Thomas Sankara in his own words. It is a careful selection of his writings and interviews from 1983 until his tragic and untimely assassination in 1987.

​7. 'Let My People Go' by Albert Luthuli

Image supplied by Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane.

Luthuli writes in the preface of the book: "This book is the outcome, after long hesitation on my part, of the urging of my friends. It is true that in the last thirty years I have been increasingly identified with the movement of resistance against oppression by white supremacy in South Africa, until now, I find myself at its head. Nevertheless, I regard my life as one among many, and my role in the resistance as one among many." Luthuli tells the story of the repression and resistance that were to shape the South African political landscape forever: the Defiance Campaign. This was the first mass challenge to the Apartheid regime. he also speaks about the drafting of the Freedom Charter, the infamous Treason Trial and the tragedies of the Sharpville and Langa massacres.

Photo by Abi Olayiwola.

Fun Places in Accra, Ghana to Visit This Weekend

From Games Night at La Borracha to Pent Hall Invasion with Medikal, Accra is packed with places to have fun.

This weekend is packed with places to have fun. Enjoy the best Mexican cuisine over fun parlor games with friends, attend a high-profile gospel music concert, or make your way to Pent Hall Invasion to see rapper Medikal. Whatever your choice of fun is, here is a list of places to visit this weekend in Accra, Ghana.

Right from the midweek all through to the weekend, here is a list of fun places to visit in Accra, Ghana.

Games Night at La Borracha

La Borracha is a recently opened Mexican Restaurant and Bar located at Labone in Accra. They’ve quickly built a reputation for amazing Mexican Cuisine, but one of their key attractions is their Games Night, hosted every Thursday. Call your squad, book a slot, and pull up for a night of unforgettable fun - while enjoying La Borracha’s signature tacos and Mexican cocktails.

Date: Thursday, 18th May

Venue: La Borracha, Labone

Cost: Free

Solo Art Exhibition by Rita Mawuena Benissan

Rita Mawuena Benissan is a Ghanaian-American visual artist, and her solo exhibition titled In the World Not of the World as curated by Ekow Eshun explores her rich Ghanaian heritage through a new visual language that speaks to the contemporary world while paying homage to Ghana’s cultural legacy. You can visit this exhibition this weekend and up until 17th June to experience the mesmerizing world of Ghanaian rich chieftaincy through the lens of Rita’s art.

Date: Thursday, 18th May - Saturday, 20th May, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Venue: Gallery1957

Cost: Free

Food Garage

Food Garage is Accra’s popular automobile-themed restaurant, known for its authentic automobile experience and excellent service. Take a picture in their collection of vintage vehicle fixtures, ranging from buses to limousines and motorbikes, while your dishes are being prepared from their menu that thoughtfully caters to every budget threshold.

Date: Friday 19th - Sunday 21st May, 11 a.m. - 1 a.m.

Venue: Food Garage, East Legon

Paintball Games at Discovery Arena Ghana

Discovery Arena is a paintball game course situated within the Laboma Beach Resort in Accra. The beachfront space has a number of paintball shooting games you can play, flanked by the grilled meat, horse rides, vibrant music, and the ocean breeze of the Laboma Beach.

Date: Date: Friday, 19th May - Sunday, 21st May, 12 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Venue: Discovery Arena, Laboma Beach

Cost: From GHC40

Eden Bar

Eden Bar is Ghana’s first non-alcoholic bar. Created for those who want an atmosphere of fun and good vibes in a non-smoking, non-alcoholic environment, Eden Bar is fun for the whole squad. Grab one of their signature mocktails, or take your pick from a variety of board games and play the night away.

Date: Friday, 19th May - Sunday, 21st May, 5 p.m. - 12 a.m.

Venue: Eden Bar, Tesano

The Grace Effect with Efe Grace

For fans of gospel music, this is where to be this weekend. Ghanaian gospel singer Efe Grace will be hosting a live recording concert titled The Grace Effect this Saturday. Also headlining the event are renowned Nigerian gospel singers Mercy Chinwo and Sunmisola Agbebi. If contemporary gospel music is your cup of tea, The Grace Effect is an unmissable event.

Date: Saturday, 20th May, 4 p.m.

Venue: Destiny Arena, The Maker’s House Chapel

Cost: Free

Waakye Brunch Buffet at Jamrock

Waakye is one of the most popular (and delicious) dishes as far as Ghanaian cuisine is concerned, so if it’s not a regular feature in your meal rotation you’re definitely missing out. Jamaican restaurant and grill Jamrock will be hosting a waakye buffet called the Waakye Brunch Buffet this and every Saturday, so it’s the perfect opportunity to get your fill of the famous Ghanaian staple for a very affordable price.

Date: Saturday, 20th May, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Venue: Jamrock, Oak Plaza Hotel

Cost: GHC100

Pent Hall Invasion with Medikal

Student week celebrations are a regular feature in university life around the world, and Ghana is no exception. Pentagon Hall Week is the most popular student week celebration in Ghana, drawing attendees from all over, college student or not. Pent Hall Week has attracted the best musicians and celebrities, and this year the celebrations are being kicked off by 4stye TV’s Pent Hall Invasion. Headlined by rapper Medikal,

Date: Saturday, 20th May,

Venue: University of Ghana, Legon

Cost: Free

Photo Credit: Prince Williams/Wireimage

Drake Reveals Nigerian Roots By Showing Father’s Ancestry Test

Canadian superstar Drake has shared the ancestry of his father, Dennis Graham.

Grammy award-winning Canadian rapper, Aubrey Graham—better known as Drake—has seemingly embraced his Nigerian roots after revealing the surprising results of his father’s DNA ancestry test.

The Toronto-born artist shared his father Dennis Graham’s results on Instagram, revealing that he is mostly of Nigerian descent, along with other African countries. In the caption, Drake wrote:

“This is my dad’s results does this mean I’m a Naija man finally?”

DNA ancestry tests have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among prominent western celebrities. The tests have provided an opportunity for people to uncover information about their genetic ethnicity which may not be easily accessible through family stories or historical records.

The revelation by the rapper is the recent example of Black people in the diaspora who have been able to trace their roots back to Nigeria. Last year, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, revealed that she is 43 percent Nigerian, while American rapper Lil Wayne said he is 53 percent Nigerian.

The Her Loss MC also shared surprising connections with Cameroon, Congo, and Western Bantu Peoples, Ivory Coast and Ghana, England and Northwestern Europe, and Scotland. We should also add that Drake himself is biracial, with his father being African American whiile his mother Sandi is Jewish-Canadian mother Sandi.

Over the last decade, Drake has collaborated with numerous African stars, from Nigerian hitmakers like Wizkid and Burna Boy to South African DJ Black Coffee.

We wonder what his Nigerian name will be? Emeka Aubrey Graham Chigozie has a nice ring to it.

Photo by Pius Utomi Ekpei via Getty Images

How Nigerian Chef Hilda Baci Set a Guinness World Record

Now acclaimed for her record attempt, we spoke to the Nigerian chef Hilda Baci on what it took to prepare, almost giving up, and the sweeping support that saw her to the finish line.

Hilda Baci has had a finger on Nigeria’s culinary pulse for years.

She won the inaugural Jollof Face Off contest in 2021, has hosted cooking shows, organized cooking tutorials, and opened My Food by Hilda—the first outlet of her restaurant—in Lagos in 2022.

But last weekend, the 27-year-old chef, whose full name is Hilda Effiong Bassey, embarked on her most ambitious culinary feat yet: to break the Guinness World Record for longest cooking marathon. (Baci had originally set April 28 to kick off the cooking marathon; but it landed a new date on May 11 to allow for more attendees.)

Inside Lekki’s Amore Gardens in Lagos, her cooking station was a makeshift enclosed structure the size of a mobile home. With a see-through glass front, there was floor-standing air conditioning to chase out the heat. Beyond that space, tents, canopies, and recreational fixtures such as a snooker table took up space for the public.

India’s Lata Tandon held the Guinness World record for the longest cooking time (87 hours and 45 minutes) since 2019, and Baci was determined to break it. A modest crowd descended on Amore Gardens on the first day, and a live stream reached thousands of eyeballs online. After 24 hours, the crowd doubled.

Phones were out recording and live images and videos sent social media ablaze. The hashtag #hildacookathon found massive online support from Nigerians, including those who have never heard of her before. Preparing meal after meal, which was served to the venue attendees, Baci was egged on to smash the record.

By Monday, she had taken over Tandon’s record time but she didn’t stop. Ninety-six hours in, an afternoon announcement via her Instagram said she was pushing for 100 hours. The gigantic timer with red digits loomed at the venue until she reached her quest. The buzz of victory was infectious. Baci had made over 100 recipes, taking an accumulative hour-long break every 12 hours.

She’s already in talks with Guinness World Records, who had reached out via direct messages on social media and emails. “We are currently in the process of uploading the evidence,” Baci told OkayAfrica in a virtual interview. “It’s taking a bit of time because it’s a huge file. We are uploading the entire 100 hours, witness statements, all the cooking methods I used and several others.”

It will take five days for Guinness World Records to review the evidence and return with a final decision. In the meantime, Baci hopes to open a bigger restaurant, launch a cookware line, go on food tours to propagate Nigerian cuisine and work with brands and investors.

A Lifestyle Change

The journey to break the Guinness World Record for the longest cooking time was years in the making. “Five years ago, I didn’t have a brand, couldn’t afford certain things and I didn’t know the people that I know today,” Baci said. “I felt like I had to change some aspects of my life so that I could make this dream possible.”

Days into the cook-a-thon, an old video of Baci surfaced online that showed her in contrasting sizes. She had embarked on a weight loss journey that saw her drop from 110kg to 8okg in two years. The revelation stirred controversy online, granting ammunition to a pocket of internet users to be fatphobic to other women.

“I didn’t delete old images of myself online so anyone can see that I used to be much bigger before now," Baci said. "The cook-a-thon wasn’t the only reason I decided to lose weight. I just didn’t like certain aspects of my appearance and I intended to be a lot more active. But again, I knew that if I was going to be embarking on this feat, I need to do a much more intentional job about my fitness,”

She hired celebrity fitness trainer Kemen to keep her in shape, and to build mental and physical stamina. “During each break in the cook-a-thon, my vitals were taken by the health experts on ground in the caravan, including my father who’s a medical doctor," Baci said. "My pee was tested each time I took a leak and I was also on my cycle at the time, and it was imperative that I took a shower. Then I ensured I took a 10-minute power nap even though my body refused to shut down.”

A Rousing Public Support, Online and offline

While Baci did her part to get to the finish line, public support helped her get there, from the physical crowd cheering her on loudly to the staunch movement on social media. One of the first personalities to spearhead on-ground support was beauty and lifestyle influencer Enioluwa Adeoluwa.

Adeoluwa, who has posted videos of himself eating food on Instagram and TikTok, was a perfect presence. So were food bloggers like Gina Ojo and Ify Mojekwu. In a surprise turn of events, comic actor and hypeman Charles Okocha stormed the venue, working the crowd in support of Baci. “We are waiting for you to break that record,” tweeted Burna Boy on Sunday. Superstars like Wizkid and Tiwa Savage joined in, the former posting emojis on the live feed while the latter was there in person.

“I was expecting some form of support but I didn’t anticipate this magnitude from Nigerians and from those across the world,” Baci said. “I was told about the online support because, at the time, I didn’t have access to my phone and had no idea of what was happening. At the venue, I saw people stand in uncomfortable positions because the place was already full to capacity, still cheering and chanting their support. It was all mind blowing, every single one.”

Kaffy, the celebrity dancer and choreographer who set the Guinness World Record for “Longest Dance Party” in 2009 came around to show support. A group of Efik dancers thrilled in traditional costume, winking at Baci as an Akwa Ibom native. Over time, Nigerians have proved they can be relied on for support where it matters, and Baci’s historic cook-a-thon was no different.

A couple of politicians provided motivation for Baci to continue her cook-a-thon. One of such is present governor of Lagos Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who arrived at the location on Sunday. Viral videos of the governor tasting her food gave way to more political involvement. Former governor of Akwa Ibom, Godswill Akpabio, appeared himself in solidarity for the resilient chef. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who couldn’t make it to the venue, called Baci on the phone with cheering words.

Support from Baci’s assistant chef, Sunday Okwe

While Baci remains the woman of the hour, an under-the radar figure who deserves honorable mention is Sunny Okwe, her assistant chef. In most clips or images of the cooking marathon, Chef sunny, as he’s also known, can be seen hovering around Baci and ensuring she had supplies at a reachable distance.

More importantly, he can also be seen standing close to her, encouraging in moments when she appears visibly exhausted. A handful of Nigerians online have drawn attention to their dynamic, hoping his role won’t be forgotten.

“The images of us were all profound, even when he appeared sapped out, he was still supportive to the end. I had two kitchen assistants and alternated between him and Lola. Sunny was the first chef I employed when I opened my restaurant. And I guess it’s just a matter of familiarity between us and how I like things to be done," Baci said. "They were so willing to stay longer and it meant a lot to me. When I almost gave up, what kept me going was them, thinking of the time and effort they have put into the marathon because I had to make it worth something.”

Image courtesy of the artist.

The Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring new African music from Teni, Tyla x Ayra Starr, June Freedom x L.A.X, Obongjayar, and Beetrus.

Every week, we highlight the top Afrobeats and African music releases through our best music column, Songs You Need to Hear.

If you like these African music lists, you can also check out our Best Afrobeats and Best Amapiano of the month columns, plus our Best Songs of the Month columns following Nigerian, Ghanaian, East African and South African music.

Read ahead for our round-up of the best new African music tracks and music videos that came across our desks this week.

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