TEN AFRICAN HEROES: THE SWEEP OF INDEPENDENCE IN BLACK AFRICA By Thomas Patrick Melady and Margaret Badum Melady Published by Orbis Books, $25
One of postcolonial Africa’s major tasks deals with nation-building and sociopolitical transformation. To some political analysts and pundits on Africa, the continent’s most enduring challenge is the lack of formidable leadership. Twenty-seven years ago, Chinua Achebe in The Trouble with Nigeria said, “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. ... There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.” Unfortunately, these 1984 words still ring true today, a perennial problem that has created a deep sense of despair in the hearts and souls of people in nations such as Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Uganda and the Congo.