Former United States President Barack Obama announced Friday on Facebook that he’s set to travel to Africa for the first time since leaving office more than a year ago.
Obama will deliver the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on Tuesday at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, in what is part of the centenary celebration sponsored by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
The former president’s Obama Foundation also will gather 200 young people in the Leaders: Africa program.
“I was proud to visit sub-Saharan Africa more times than any other sitting President, and I’ll return this week to visit Kenya and South Africa,” he said. “Kenya, of course, is the Obama ancestral home. I visited for the first time when I was in my twenties and I was profoundly influenced by my experiences – a journey I wrote about in my first book, Dreams from My Father.”
Obama continued on to celebrate African writers, drawing up a short list of those he’s reading.
“Over the years since, I’ve often drawn inspiration from Africa’s extraordinary literary tradition,” he said. “As I prepare for this trip, I wanted to share a list of books that I’d recommend for summer reading, including some from a number of Africa’s best writers and thinkers – each of whom illuminate our world in powerful and unique ways.”
The Obama short list includes:
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Return by Hisham Matar
Image: Obama Foundation file