African heroines and heroes: the favorites of “World Africa”

<h2>All the colors of History</h2>Resize the French national story by including, alongside the best-known historical figures in France, personalities from the African continent? This is the project of the book Visibles! Black figures in French history

African heroines and heroes: the favorites of “World Africa”

All the colors of History

Resize the French national story by including, alongside the best-known historical figures in France, personalities from the African continent? This is the project of the book Visibles! Black figures in French history. Sensitive to questions of memory and diversity, the authors Binkady-Emmanuel Hié and Léo Kloeckner have designed a work as attractive in its style as it is informative in its content, which presents 40 women and men who have contributed in one way or another other to the history of France.

Designed by Aurélia Durand, the personalities were chosen from the political, literary, scientific, cultural or sporting worlds. Some characters stand out through their influence or their heroism, others because of their talent or their humanity. In a deliberately didactic approach, the stories allow readers to make a number of discoveries. If we know Joséphine Baker, Léopold Sedar Senghor, Frantz Fanon, or Maryse Condé, few people know that the famous writer Alexandre Dumas had African blood. And who remembers Anne Mousse, a pioneering black woman from the 17th century, considered the oldest of the Reunion Islanders? This highlighting of heroes hitherto downplayed for ideological or sexist reasons adds richness and diversity to the great History. A precious and accessible work, to be shared between generations.

Influential female figures

Historian and journalist Sylvia Serbin has been working for many years to restore the place and role of women in the historical map of Africa. Queens of Africa and Heroines of the Black Diaspora, her work published in 2004, enjoyed success with an ever-growing circle of initiates and has continued to be republished since then. With a hundred pages more than its previous version, the 2023 version features additional characters and information updates. The author introduces us to 25 portraits of influential women, resistant to slavery and colonization, warriors, mothers of heroes, most of them unknown to the general public. Among them, queens Zingha of Angola, Sarraounia of Niger, Ndaté Yalla of Senegal, Ranavalona III of Madagascar, but also Tinubu, 19th century Nigerian trader and politician, Kimpa Vita, prophetess of Kongo, the Amazons of Dahomey...

Sylvia Serbin narrates their destinies with the talent of a storyteller, while relying on written and oral sources which required ten years of research. Her Queens of Africa and Heroines of the Black Diaspora takes us to meet exceptional temperaments, providing a nice counterpoint to preconceived ideas about the powerlessness or inertia of women on the African continent. This reference work, praised by many French-speaking and Spanish-speaking readers, notably served as a documentary resource for Sony Tristar productions for the film The Woman King.

Senegalese heroines of today

For adolescent girls and young women who are wondering how to take their place in society, and defend their passions and their choices, Conversations femmes will provide beneficial answers. Senegalese podcast producer Zoubida Fall had the good idea of ​​bringing together seventeen of the interviews she conducted with women in her country into a book.

We thus set out to meet women active in the most diverse fields: from the filmmaker Fatou Kandé Senghor to the stylist Oumou Sy via the economist Thiaba Camara Sy... All have reached a certain degree of notoriety, but interest of their words lies less in the evocation of each person's success than in the description of the path they had to take to achieve it. And the need for everyone, whatever their training or means of departure, to demonstrate will, work and tenacity. An enlightening and inspiring book, of which we would like variations for other countries.

Avant-garde ideas from a political icon

In just four years at the head of Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara (1949-1987) raised the hopes of many Africans, demonstrating through his actions as much as through his speeches that there could be a new way of acting in politics . Published this fall, two illustrated works retrace his trajectory.

Fascinated by the ideas of the man who made the former Upper Volta "the country of honest men", the Italian Franco Dusio embarked on the scriptwriting of Thomas Sankara, a shattered dream, the fruit of a long work of biographical exploration. The comic strip, illustrated by artists Marco Forte and Luca Occhetti, aims for completeness, narrating the character of Sankara from childhood until his assassination.

An equally well-documented graphic novel, the second book, Thomas Sankara, Visionary Rebel, was co-written by French authors Françoise-Marie Santucci and Pierre Lepidi, journalist at Monde Afrique. It starts from the character of a young schoolgirl with the particular first name of Léa-Thomas who, tired of the mockery of her classmates, questions her parents about the choice of her surname. The portrait of the famous captain thus begins to come to life, graphically rendered by the excellent Congolese designer Pat Masioni.

If the two works are different – ​​the first, darker, aimed more at a mature audience, while the second is aimed at adolescents – both allow us to understand the reasons which led to the mythification of Sankara . “He was a soldier. But not like the others. He had a conscience and a vision,” explains Léa-Thomas’ mother. A 33-year-old feminist and environmentalist president who, aware of the significance of symbols, sent men to the market, drove around in modest cars and demanded the cancellation of the debt. But who unfortunately had neither the time nor the means to achieve his immense ambition: to change the world.