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The Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute released a list of books recommended by Thabo Mbeki. There are a few unexpected surprises like “The Eighteeth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte” by Karl Marx. Read the list below. Source: Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute

1. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte – by Karl Marx

marxGutenberg link: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1346/1346-h/1346-h.htm

Written: December 1851 – March 1852

The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte poses the challenge to us always to understand that history, even as an ‘academic’ discipline, is about the general (multi-disciplinary) development of human society. This means that we must constantly seek to understand African and global society in all its elements.

2. The Highland Clearances – by John Prebble


Paperback, 336 pages

Published May 31st 1969 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1963).

The Highland Clearances tells an evocative story about land dispossession in Scotland, which parallels land dispossession in South Africa, (and representative of colonialism in general where such dispossession took place). This illustrates the inherent ‘functioning’ of capital, regardless of national boundaries. This emphasises the international/universal role of ‘capital’ as the central driver of the process of ‘globalisation’.

3. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution – by C.L.R. James

The Black Jacobins Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution

Paperback, 2nd Edition, 448 pages

Published October 23rd 1989 by Vintage (first published 1938)

The Black Jacobins is about the ‘African Diaspora’ in Haiti – combines a definitive account about Africa’s place in the then ‘global political economy’, the role and place of slavery in this regard, and, of great importance, the role and struggles of the Africans once they were integrated in the world economy, (through the African slaves), in helping to determine world history and the shape of human society. (NB: The majority of the slaves who rose in rebellion successfully to establish the very first Black Republic were first generation African slaves!)

4. Damming the Flood: Haiti and the Politics of Containment – by Peter Hallward

damming flood

Paperback: 512 pages

Publisher: Verso; New Updated Edition (December 27, 2010)

“Damming the Flood” follows this account immediately, graphically to relate a contemporary story about Haiti. It tells the story that Haiti, given its historic place in the centuries-old ‘globalisation’ process, has, to this day, continued to pay a price for having served in thevanguard in the struggle to achieve genuine African liberation.

The preceding books tell stories that principally relate to the

rest of the world, outside of Africa.

5. Frontiers: The Epic of South Africa’s Creation and the Tragedy of the Xhosa People – by Noel Mostert



Hardcover, 1355 pages

Published June 23rd 1992 by Knopf (first published January 1st 1992)

“Frontiers” brings us back to Africa. It tells a story both about the real meaning of the European colonisation of Africa and the related protracted struggles of the African people to defeat the effort to deprive them of their independence. Among others, Frontiers tells an inspiring African story of resistance to colonialism. However, it also reports the African defeat in this regard.

6. God’s Bits of Wood – Ousmane Sembène


Download link: http://socialiststories.net/liberate/God%27s%20Bits%20of%20Wood%20-%20Sembene%20Ousmane.pdf

Heinemann, 1995 – Fiction

The historical drama contained in “God’s Bits of Wood” presents a creative-realistic imagination of the continuation of the anti-colonial struggle detailed in “Frontiers: The Epic of South Africa’s Creation”, in the context of the African society created in the aftermath of the victory of the colonial powers. It is an outstanding work of creative ‘fictional realism’.

7. In Search of Enemies: A CIA Story – by John Stockwell


Paperback: 288 pages

Publisher: W. W. Norton; 1st edition (March 17, 1984)

The Book relates immediately to the above/foregoing. It tells both a particular and generic story abut how the dominant world powers would act and have acted specifically to perpetuate African dependence, in their interest.

It is important that Africans, victims of the machinations described in Book, must understand how those who would deny us our independence operate.

8. PRICE OF POWER – by Seymour Hersh

The Price of Power

Paperback, 700 pages

Published May 28th 1984 by Summit Books (NY) (first published 1983)

The book provides a vivid example in this regard, which includes the confirmation of the constancy of the strategic objectives of the major Western powers, regardless of which political party is in power.

7. Civilization or Barbarism: An Authentic Anthropology – by Cheikh Anta Diop, Yaa-Lengi Meema Ngemi (Translation)


Paperback, 464 pages

Published April 1st 1991 by Chicago Review Press (first published

January 1st 1991)

All the preceding Books inevitably present us, the Africans,as ‘victims’ of history. This is based on an assertion that has informed European historiography for a long time that we are objects rather than makers of history. However, Civilization or Barbarism presents a well-argued African case, advanced by the modern African intelligentsia, that as Africans we have been makers of history. It is important that as Africans we understand this reality.

8. Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization – by Martin Bernal

Black Athena

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Page Count: 608

Publication Year: 1987

The scientific works carried out by the African intelligentsia as represented in Civilization or Barbarism above has been confirmed by some among the European intelligentsia. Book [8] confirms the historically vital finding that African thought, etc, is a central contributor to the evolution of all human society, including inherited modern thought and practice.Thus can we, the Africans, legitimately claim not only that Africa is the very (generic/genetic) origin of all humanity, but also that we played our own rightful role in terms of defining human behaviour in all its important elements.

9. The Wretched of the Earth – by Frantz Fanon


Grove Press, 1967.

In the end, all our important studies, as reflected above, which seek to ‘understand the world’, must empower us to make a determination about how we must act to change this ‘world’, for

our benefit as Africans. This means that we must understand ourselves and our own responsibility to ourselves, precisely as makers of history. Black Athena challenges us to undertake this task,acting honestly in this regard. Building on this, we have a duty further to expand our understanding of our reality, ourselves and our possibilities.

10. Africa Must Unite (New World Paperbacks) – by Kwame Nkrumah



Paperback: 229 pages

Publisher: International Publishers (June 1970)

First published: in Great Britain by Macgibbon and Kee in 1965.The eminent Pan-Africanist, Kwame Nkrumah, speaking for his generation, made bold to present Africa with many strategic tasks. These are contained in Africa Must Unite, all of which we must examine closely. In this regard, relating to their relevance and practicality, we must make every effort to understand everything which would give us the possibility to achieve sustained success.