Module Eleven

African Literature

Overview: The purpose of Module Eleven: African Literature is to introduce students to the wide breadth of literature by and about Africa and Africans. The module examines several genres, or types of literature from Southern, West, East, North and Central Africa. The regional designations are in no way meant to suggest that the lines dividing the regions are static or permanent. The literature taken from those regions for this lesson should not be understood as fully representative of those regions, but as suggestive of the heterogeneity of the literature from Africa.

For a brief background and history of African literature, click here.

PURPOSE: Module Eleven: African Literature will introduce students to the beauty and diversity of African literature. The lesson will allow students to read works of literature from Southern, West, East, North, and Central Africa. Students will also be exposed to the different genres of African literature. Poems by Zimbabwean author Charles Mungoshi make up the first activity that focuses on Southern Africa. From the West African countries of Niger and Nigeria, students will be asked to read and listen to folk tales in the second activity. An excerpt from a novel by Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong’o is included as an example of East African literature in the third activity. A short story from Sudan is discussed in Activity Four, and in Activity Five students will read excerpts from an autobiography by Moroccan author Fatima Mernissi. Finally, students will read part of a play from Tanzania.



  1. What types of literature and literary genres do we find being produced by African writers?
  2. What are some of the themes explored in African literature?
  3. Who are a few of the authors producing literature in Africa?
  4. How can we learn more about African literature?


After completing this lesson, students will have gained the following:

  1. An appreciation for the diversity of literature written by African authors.
  2. An understanding of a few of the themes explored in literature from Africa.
  3. Practice in reading comprehension.
  4. Knowledge of different literary genres.

Begin this module with Activity One or choose from one of the other activities