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France & French Collections at the Library of Congress

Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa is arguably the most diverse continent in the world. It is home to nearly 2,000 languages, and French is one of the most widely spoken, along with English, Swahili, and Hausa. French is the official language in Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, the Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, the Seychelles, and Togo. It is also a de facto language in countries like Mauritania and Mauritius. Additionally, many of the largest Francophone cities are in African countries. In fact, Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, surpasses Paris as the most populated French-speaking city in the world. Much like the Francophone literature from other parts of the world, many works from this region are rich and thought-provoking. Over the past couple of decades, authors from Africa, like Alain Mabanckou and Marie NDiaye have achieved international attention through their growing readership and recognition. For example, Marie NDiaye’s Trois femmes puissantes won the prestigious Prix Goncourt in 2009. The following list barely touches the surface of the massive African literary répetoire. A few of the major themes include female empowerment, African identity, Black identity, tragedy, the human condition, and coming-of-age.

The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional digitized versions are included when available.