Africa Is Not a Country: Book summary and reviews of Africa Is Not a Country by Dipo Faloyin

Africa Is Not a Country

Notes on a Bright Continent

by Dipo Faloyin

Africa Is Not a Country by Dipo Faloyin X
Africa Is Not a Country by Dipo Faloyin
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Book Summary

An exuberant, opinionated, stereotype-busting portrait of contemporary Africa in all its splendid diversity, by one of its leading new writers.

So often, Africa has been depicted simplistically as a uniform land of famines and safaris, poverty and strife, stripped of all nuance. In this bold and insightful book, Dipo Faloyin offers a much-needed corrective, weaving a vibrant tapestry of stories that bring to life Africa's rich diversity, communities, and histories.

Starting with an immersive description of the lively and complex urban life of Lagos, Faloyin unearths surprising truths about many African countries' colonial heritage and tells the story of the continent's struggles with democracy through seven dictatorships. With biting wit, he takes on the phenomenon of the white savior complex and brings to light the damage caused by charity campaigns of the past decades, revisiting such cultural touchstones as the KONY 2012 film. Entering into the rivalries that energize the continent, Faloyin engages in the heated debate over which West African country makes the best jollof rice and describes the strange, incongruent beauty of the African Cup of Nations. With an eye toward the future promise of the continent, he explores the youth-led cultural and political movements that are defining and reimagining Africa on their own terms.

The stories Faloyin shares are by turns joyful and enraging; proud and optimistic for the future even while they unequivocally confront the obstacles systematically set in place by former colonial powers. Brimming with humor and wit, filled with political insights, and, above all, infused with a deep love for the region, Africa Is Not a Country celebrates the energy and particularity of the continent's different cultures and communities, treating Africa with the respect it deserves.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"With clarity and incisive wit, journalist Faloyin explores the origins of the 54 countries of Africa...Africa Is Not a Country [is] a forceful rebuttal of erased histories and simplified imagery as well as a celebration of a continent already living its dynamic future." - Booklist (starred review)

"VICE senior editor Faloyin debuts with a spirited critique of Western misrepresentations of Africa...Flashes of joy and humor—including an account of British chef Jamie Oliver's ill-fated attempt to create a 'hybrid verson' of jollof rice—enliven the proceedings. The result is an exuberant and informative introduction to one of the world's most diverse continents." - Publishers Weekly

"A trenchant study demolishes stereotypes about Africans as a product of colonial history...Faloyin weaves in his personal story as a Nigerian, using the making of Jollof rice as a unifying theme, and ends the book with forward-looking ways that African countries are managing gender and sexual violence, climate change, and other pressing matters. A well-researched, cleareyed deconstruction of highly flawed conventional wisdom about Africa." - Kirkus Reviews

"This book is hilarious, ferocious, generous, and convincing. It made me reconsider almost everything I thought I knew about Africa, which is somewhere we often hear about, but far too rarely hear from." - Oliver Bullough, author of Moneyland

"An impeccably researched work, brimming with humor and intellect. A necessary read for 2022." - J K Chukwu, author of The Unfortunates

"A triumph of a book. A charismatic and hugely enjoyable read packed full of essential information―revealing a huge, vastly diverse set of stories, situations, and histories that really do pop the balloon of lazy stereotyping of Africa. You'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't read this book." - Nels Abbey, coauthor of Think Like a White Man

This information about Africa Is Not a Country was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Dipo Faloyin

Dipo Faloyin is a senior editor at VICE, where he focuses on race, culture, and identity around the world. His writing has appeared in Dazed, Prospect, and HuffPost. Born in Chicago, raised in Lagos, he now lives in London.

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