Africanfuturism for Beginners

recommended by Ajani Husbands

Coined by the author Nnedi Okorafor, Africanfuturism is not to be confused with the similarly titled Afro-futurism. Africanfuturism centers magic and science squarely within the African context and then centers Africa and African voices within the story. In Africanfuturism, magic and science have always been integral to African cultures and history and are described in a way that makes it clear they are all intertwined.

  • 1


    Akata Witch (The Nsibidi Scripts)
    by Nnedi Okorafor

    This was the first novel I read from Nnedi Okorafor and immediately fell in love with the genre. Though technically classified as young adult fiction, the story is vibrant and will draw in audiences of any age. Often wrongly described as the "African Harry Potter" or some other such comparison, Akata Witch is actually a coming-of-age trilogy set in a landscape where Nigerian culture and traditions deeply mix with a long history of a magical society. I HIGHLY recommend starting with this one.

  • 2


    Who Fears Death
    by Nnedi Okorafor

    One thing you'll notice if you read enough Nnedi Okorafor is that most of her stories are set in the same fictional universe, but spread out across various times. Who Fears Death exists in the same world as Akata Witch, but at a very different time (you'll have to read the book to find out where and how). This book is a full length novel and is a mix of Mad Max meets mystic desert sands.

  • 3


    Binti (Binti, 1)
    by Nnedi Okorafor

    Another trilogy, and highly recommended. Binti is a shorter story but no less captivating. The basic premise is that aliens landed in Africa long ago and basically just started hanging out. The co-existence is strong and is a central theme of the series.

  • 4


    Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha, 1)
    by Tomi Adeyemi

    Surprise! This novel is not by Nnedi Okorafor, but I strongly believe it meets all the hallmarks of africanfuturism. Similar to Okorafor's novels, this one centers on a strong woman protagonist in a world where magic, science, and pepper soup coexist. The worldbuilding here is astounding and it won't take long to be sucked in to the storyline. Note that this is a trilogy and the third book has just been released!

  • 5


    Shadow Speaker: The Desert Magician's Duology: Book One
    by Nnedi Okorafor

    I have not yet read this one! It's a duology and is the latest work from Nnedi Okorafor. So if you've made it this far down the list and are looking for more, this is where I'd go next!

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