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Blog Posts by Subject: Africa

Tributo a Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

My Mandela Moments

I learned of Nelson Mandela’s passing while waiting for my delayed flight at Atlanta Airport. I thought how much his painful and extraordinary life had exposed the terrible danger that faced those who fought for the rights, the dignity and the freedom of people of African origin or descent. That despairing reality was made all the more vivid because I was coming back to New York after several days spent with Kathleen Cleaver, immersed in documents and photographs from the Black 

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Hommage à Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

Mandela, Un destin. Par Bernard Violet.Le héros sud-africain, Nelson Mandela est décédé le soir du 5 décembre 2013 à l'âge de 95 ans à son domicile de Johannesburg. Ses funérailles auront lieu le 15 décembre prochain à Qunu, son village natal.

Voici quelques articles d'actualité sur le sujet disponibles en ligne:   Mort de Nelson Mandela, l'Africain capital. Le Monde.  ... Read More ›

Música Soul: The Soundtrack of the Black Power Movement in Brazil

"If we had said 'Negro power' nobody would get scared. Everybody would support it. If we said power for colored people, everybody would be for that, but it is the word 'black' that bothers people in this country, and that's their problem, not mine." —Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) at UC Berkeley, 1966

Stokely Carmichael by Lynn B. PadweBlack Rio Scene by Almir VeigaJames Brown released "I'm Black and I'm Proud" during the height of the Black Power Movement in the United States in 1968. Brown's in-your-face approach to racial pride resonated 

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Clicks to the Black World

Digital Schomburg's online exhibitions on various aspects of the black experience have truly become a global phenomenon. They are attracting visitors from all over the world. From Argentina to Zimbabwe and Montenegro and the Maldives in between. What do they know that perhaps you don't?

In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience remains the most visited curated exhibition of The New York Public Library. With a few clicks, visitors from 206 countries and territories, including Kazakhstan, Tonga, Suriname, Mongolia and Malawi, 

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From Masailand to Tompkins Square Library: A Journey in Literacy

Last year, Victoria joined a basic reading and writing class at Tompkins Square Library's Center for Reading and Writing. She agreed to speak with me about her experience so far and what brought her here.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Kenya, in the Masailand, in a village with 10 huts.

What other languages do you speak besides English?

I speak the Masai language and Swahili, and other tribal languages: Kikuyu, Luo, and Kamba. I came to America in 1986. I speak English every day, but 

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Bollywood and Africa: A Love Story

Few people in the West have heard international superstar Akon's new hit. But tens of millions throughout the rest of the world have been dancing to Chammak Challo for weeks. Why? Because the catchy tune is the musical centerpiece of the latest Bollywood sci-fi blockbuster Ra. One, whose (super) hero is no other than Shahrukh Khan, the most popular actor in the (rest of) the world. That Akon, a Senegalese,

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Sannu Niger!

ferdinandreus on flickrThe capture last week of Saif al-Islam Qaddafi who, disguised as a Tuareg, was trying to flee to Niger — where one of his brothers and some high-ranking officials have found refuge — has turned a spotlight on a country few people have heard of.

Niger? You mean

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Remembering Ken Saro-Wiwa

“The writer cannot be a mere storyteller; he cannot be a mere teacher; he cannot merely X-ray society’s weaknesses, its ills, its perils. He or she must be actively involved shaping its present and its future.”

Nigerian environmentalist, author, and television producer Ken Saro-Wiwa lived and died by the words above. Born on October 10, 1941, Kenule “Ken” Beeson Saro Wiwa was an Ogoni (an ethnic minority in Nigeria). Ogoniland, located in the Niger Delta, is rich in oil that has been looted by 

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Social Studies Resources for Third Grade Classrooms: Africa

Hope your school year is off to a great start! Below, you'll find a list of resources which offer background information in a variety of formats about the continent of Africa. NYPL has many wonderful materials on specific communities and countries within Africa — way too many to list here. We hope these highlights are helpful and inspire further exploration. Feedback is greatly appreciated. Feel free to leave comments and suggestions below!

Atlas of Africa (part of 

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Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Sunny is accustomed to being different. She was born in New York City but lives in Nigeria. She has the same features as her West African family, but she is an albino. The people in her community don’t know what to make of her, so they stay away or call her names.

In school, Sunny makes new friends in Orlu and Chichi, who reveal that they have magical powers and suspect that she does too. It turns out that Sunny is a “free agent,” someone who’s powers are not hereditary. Usually, people with these powers are from a magical family and 

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Great Albums You May Have Missed: Konono No.1's Congotronics (2004)

Konono No.1's sound is shockingly infectious and amazingly unique. The revolving-member group spent the last few decades playing traditional Bazombo trance music in the capitol city of the Congo: Kinshasa. Equal parts tradition, innovation, and accident, their sound centers on three Likembe (better known as the Mbira, or thumb organ) players, a rhythm section, three singers, and three dancers. Oh, but that is so not all of the story!...

A need to compete with the growing cacophony of the busy 

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Two, Three, Many Egypts

If you're anything like me, you've been glued to your computer screen for more than a week observing the will of an entire people force a reckoning with its despotic ruler, against all cynical logic that insurrections and revolutions somehow irretrievably belong to ages past. What is the context for this momentuous event that will undoubtedly have repercussions for years to come? 

Branded as "the January 25th Movement," the truth 

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