African Lent

By LaVonne Neff 2-22-2010

100222-the-shadow-of-the-sunHere's an idea for Lent that will do more good than giving up desserts: Read a book about contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. It's not a penance, though it can hurt. And seeing how much of the rest of the world lives sure does put a lot of my minor irritations and even major problems in perspective.

Consider a novel or memoir by an African, such as

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun (Nigeria)
Athol Fugard, Tsotsi (South Africa)
Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone (Sierra Leone)
Peter Godwin, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun (Zimbabwe)

Or read a journalist's first-person account, like

Dave Eggers, What Is the What (Sudan)
Tracy Kidder, Strength in What Remains (Burundi)
Ryszard Kapu?ci?ski, The Shadow of the Sun (post-colonial Africa)
Philip Gourevitch, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families (Rwanda)

If you'd rather watch a movie, try one of these:

The Devil Came On Horseback (Sudan)
Tsotsi (South Africa)
War Dance (Uganda)
Hotel Rwanda (Rwanda)

portrait-lavonne-neffLaVonne Neff is an amateur theologian and cook; lover of language and travel; wife, mother, grandmother, godmother, dogmother; perpetual student, constant reader, and Christian contrarian. She blogs at Lively Dust.

Don't Miss a Story!

Get Sojourners delivered straight to your inbox.

Have Something to Say?

Add or Read Comments on
"African Lent"
Launch Comments
By commenting here, I agree to abide by the Sojourners Comment Community Covenant guidelines and acknowledge that my comment may be published in the Letters to the Editor section of Sojourners magazine.

Must Reads

Subscribe