The Smart Money Woman: An African Girl’s Journey To Financial Freedom

The Smart Money Woman: An African Girl’s Journey To Financial Freedom

Pay no attention to the fact that it is mainly directed at women, you can definitely learn so many things from the book regardless of your gender. Written by Nigerian financial analyst, Arese Ugwu, The Smart Money Woman is a book that you need to add to your library. It is a totally relatable book that borders around spending habits, financial decisions, fears and misconceptions surrounding money, cultural and societal pressures when it comes to wealth and success, particularly on the part of the African woman.

Arese Ugwu for Smart Money and Financial Decisions
Arese Ugwu Founder,

In this book, we explore the life of Zuri and her four friends; Tami, Lara, Adesuwa and Ladun. We journey through their corporate and personal lives, how their financial decisions affected various aspects of their lives, and how they were able to get back up and make smarter decisions.

Published in 2016, this book was (and still is) highly sought after, because of its realness and practical nature. Knowing that the subject of money and everything about it is a very delicate one, Arese wrote a very interesting fictional book that deals with real life situations, you can be rest assured that you will definitely be glued to the book. The author did an amazing job of providing what she titled ‘Smart Money Lessons’ at the end of every chapter where she explained and broke down certain financial terms that will help in making better decisions when it comes to money. Asides the lessons, there are also exercises that have been provided to gauge where exactly you are in your finance and the next step from there.

The other themes that were explored in this book are the themes of love, marriage and family. We saw those who were born with the silver spoon and thought they didn’t have to work again, those who thought that all they needed was a man who was well to do and their money problems will disappear, those who made it look like their husbands were in charge, when in fact, they were the ones bringing in all the goodies and still getting dumped in the process (things we do for love right?) those whose families were still dependent on them, and so many other things that are very peculiar to the African society at large. This book literally addresses them all in just a few pages.

Arese Ugwu for Smart Money and Financial Decisions
Arese Ugwu

Brought to light in this day and age where youths especially are all about impressing other people with things they can’t even afford all in the name of being seen as someone with class, instead of taking a smart step and cultivating a simple spending diet, this book couldn’t have come at a better time. It is written in such a way that after every chapter, you mentally prepare yourself to do better, amazingly, there are already steps provided in the book!

Now you might be thinking it is just a book for financial guidance, but we think of it as a book filled with life lessons because that is what it is in actual fact. This book gives us the boldness to confront one of our greatest fears, money and it also gives us the courage to go forward and conquer it. It teaches us that in every crisis, there is an opportunity; you only need to look at it from another perspective.

What we love about this book is mainly the fact that these five friends were able to retrace their steps from their numerous issues and became committed to doing better together, now if this isn’t goals, then we don’t know what is. It makes you really wonder who you are spending time with because whether you like it or not, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

So hurry up, get your own copy and become a smart money person.

Read Better: 6 Tips on Reading Classical African Literature Books

African classical Literature

African classical literature books is an important part of Africa’s history, culture and future. It is important to note that the literary art works which constitutes this group referred to as classical literature have treated issues concerning the African society which are still relevant in modern times. The importance of these African writers and their literature to the African society and the world at large cannot be over emphasized; still, a lot of young people find it difficult to connect with these ageless literary works. This article is to help you better read the African classics, follow the tips provided below and thank us later:

Background research on the author

This is a very important pre-reading activity. In order to best understand the book, it is key that you have a background knowledge about the author of the book. More than half of the time, an author’s life and personal experience influence their writing. During your research you are bound to come across any important life experience that might have influenced the author’s writing style. Look out for relevant information like the author’s country, date of birth, marital life, educational life and career etc.
This research is going to help you understand better the writer’s approach to certain subject matters and his stand on important issues addressed in his work.

African writers: African classical literature

Background research on the book

This second pre- reading activity is as important as the first. This gives you an opportunity to gain background knowledge on the book. Watch out for important information as when the book was published and the category the book falls under in African studies.
The African society has gone through a lot of prominent stages and the African literature encapsulates all these important stages of the society. The publishing date of the book would give you an idea of the subject matters portrayed in the book.
Generally classical African novels act as a watch guard of the society and so these authors use their books as a way of pointing out the ills and correcting these moral issues. Themes like cultural nationalism, the struggle for independence, post independence disillusionment, military dictatorship, civil war etc. Ideologies like feminism, Marxism etc are also a prominent feature of classical African literature. It is important to note which prominent theme the author features in the book.

Notes: Always read with a pen and a pad

This is a very important reading habit, especially if you do not like to write in your books. You might come across relevant quotes in the book that you’d want to jot down. The book might also trigger thoughts and start up conversations that you immediately want to write down or raise questions that you might want to answer later. Keeping a pen and pad close is always a good initiative.

Read Better: African Literature Books

Read reviews, articles and criticism on the work

African classical literature always acts as a catalyst for discussions, these books raise important questions and every reader has a unique perspective that is relevant to the discussion of these books. Having read the book and gained adequate knowledge which helps form a personal opinion because of your viewpoint, it is always advantageous to read others view of the literary work. It exposes you to different angles of the work; aspects that you might have missed or not deemed important.

Look for study questions on the book and answer them as best as you can

Study questions helps one understand the book better, you can find study questions on some publisher’s website or on some literature websites/blog. They draw your attention to important societal questions raised by the book, it gives you the opportunity to think deeply on these moral issues and form your own opinion.

Read the book again!

It is advisable you read the book again; this helps you pay more attention to aspects of the book you might have neglected. You might even find something you missed the first time.
I hope this tips would help you read better, happy reading.

Olivia Sose

What do you think? Let us know by commenting below. Don’t forget to share with your friends using any of the share buttons below.

The 10 Books By African Writers You Have To Read

Read Better | 10 Books By African Writers You Have To Read

It is no news that Africa is a continent of stories, both good and bad. These stories form a large part of what has shaped us into who we are today. There is just something beautiful about the innate desire to always go back to our roots and tell people about it as well.
Today we will be going through certain ‘stories’ written by some of the finest African authors of all time, that will open your mind and heart to appreciate the diverse cultures and thought process around Africa. Now who better write African stories better than Africans themselves? From Chinua Achebe to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, African has produced phenomenal writers who has made contributions that has impacted generations. Wanting to read better and books to read? Here are 10 books by African writers you have to read – a few selection from African classical literature.

Nervous Conditions – Tsitsi Dangarembga

Tsitsi Dangarembga Nervous Conditions
Second edition, 2004

This is one very amazing that looks at the life of two teenage Rhodesian cousins alongside their families; one with everything at her disposal but still entrapped in the effects of gender domination and colonialism, and the other born and bred in the village but with the opportunity of an education, trying to break free from the same thing her cousin suffers. This book borders around themes like race, class, gender and colonialism. Nervous Conditions is considered as one of Africa’s 100 best books in the 20th century, this is a must read.

Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe

African Classical Literature: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Unarguably one of the classics of African literature, Nigerian author Chinua Achebe carefully describes the happenings in the late 19th century in Nigeria. The historical fiction deals with colonialism, cross-cultural misunderstanding and its consequences. The book was able to dispel some of the derogatory characteristics that had been attributed to Africans by those who observed from afar. ‘Things Fall Apart’ is one of the most widely read books all around the world and has been translated to various languages for apt understanding. This is one of the must books to read!

Half Of A Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

African Classical Literature: Half Of A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Half Of A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Centered on the events that took place during the Biafra war in Nigeria, this beautiful but emotional piece by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one novel you won’t want to drop till you are done with it. The story examines themes of war and its impact, politics, the role of western journalism, marriage and a host of other things. ‘Half of A Yellow Sun’ was well received by critics around the world, and it also received various accolades for a story well told.

The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born – Ayi Kwei Armah

Books to Read: The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah

Ghanaian writer Ayi Kwei Armah, describes all that follows the newly acquired independence status of Ghana in his own little way by talking about a man’s resistance to corruption by refusing to take bribes that is eventually going to destroy his nation. He stands on his principles that he is not going to part of this clearly wrong act. We can see themes like class stratification and clashes between them. One would normally expect that after independence, things will run smoothly, but the author shows us that the post independence era too has its own problems.

Disgrace – J.M. Coetzee

Books to Read: Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee
Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee

Talking about the post-apartheid South Africa, J.M. Coetzee breaks down the effects of political change and how it can lead to a large case of destruction of the political system. This book explores the themes of tension between races and generations, social and political complexities in South Africa. ‘Disgrace’ is definitely a must-read as it seeks to open up some negative things that have eaten deep into the heart of the political system.

The Joys Of Motherhood – Buchi Emecheta

African Writers: Buchi Emecheta - The Joys Of Motherhood
The Joys Of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta

This is probably the most emotional work by Buchi Emecheta, as it explores the life of a mother who gives her all to her husband and her ten children but ends up dead on the roadside like a chicken, literally. One would think that from the title it talks about something along ‘reaping the fruits of her labour’ but this was not the case for Nnu Ego the heroine of the novel, rather she was faced with difficult situations from the beginning to the end. The book also explores the presence of colonial influence, traditional values and the clash between both. This is one of the best books of all time, as it highlights that being a mother as much as it is something most women dream about, might not necessarily be all that you hoped for.

The River Between – Ngugi wa Thiong’o

African Writers: Ngugi wa Thiong’o - The River Between
The River Between by Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Set in the colonial era, the author Ngugi wa Thiong’o gives a story of the effects of Christianity and colonialism especially the division it brought to two communities in Kenya. Ngugi also allows us into the world of the Kenyans and by extension the Africans before the advent of colonialism by showing us some of the cultural practices of the people. The differences amongst these people caused them to fight amongst themselves rather than fight the common enemy, but they were too consumed with their own differences. This is a very interesting book that you would learn a lesson or two from.

The Famished Road – Ben Okri

african novels

This beautiful piece of art written by Ben Okri literally takes you to another realm as you travel with the narrator Azaro the spirit child, who takes you on a journey between death and life. The book tries to explain to us that beyond the physical, there is also a spiritual world that governs the affairs of the African people. It might come to you as a tad bit too superficial, but if you are a lover of magical realism, then you are in for a treat.

Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi

Books to read by African writers

This very detailed story on wars, slavery and segregation written by Yaa Gyasi, is another emotional rollercoaster that takes you through the different lives of two sisters; one very opportune and married to an Englishman and living in a castle, while the other enslaved just beneath her sister and sold alongside other slaves to America. In this rather emotional novel, we are taken through 300 years of hardship in Ghana, following the lives of the descendants of the two sisters Effia and Essi. We get to see the tribal wars, horrors that the slave trade brought, and a whole lot more. This is a very historic book that you need to have in your library.

July’s People – Nadine Gordimer

Books to read by African writers

Another novel set in the apartheid period in South Africa, July’s people written by Nadine Gordimer explores intensely the themes of racial discrimination, the coming together of different cultures through unplanned circumstances. Asides from the obvious themes, the author brings to light some things, like how we can deal with our various differences as human beings and how we get to relate with other people and adapt to a way of life we are not used to under certain circumstances. This book reveals raw emotions that allow the reader to go through the pain with the characters. Beautifully written!

We hope that these books will help you in your further quest and knowledge for the beautiful continent called Africa. Let us know what you think about these African writers by commenting below.

Nervous Conditions (1988) by Tsitsi Dangarembga

Tsitsi Dangarembga

Nervous Conditions (1988) by Tsitsi Dangarembga: Coming of age story about a young woman in modern Africa! Nervous Conditions is a novel by Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga. A semi-autobiographical coming of age story about a young woman in modern Africa. The story takes place in post-colonial Rhodesia during the 1960s, and brings to the politics of decolonization theory the energy of women’s rights. The story centers around female cousins Tambu and Nyasha – both lead very different lives. Tambu was raised in Umtali where she was responsible for household chores, gardening, and caring for her younger siblings. Nyasha spent most of her formative years studying in England. When she comes back to Africa she realizes the vast differences between European culture and African culture – especially where what is taken for granted has become the societal norm.

The novel attempts to illustrate the dynamic themes of race, class, colonialism, and gender during the post-colonial conditions of present-day Zimbabwe. Nervous Conditions has been dubbed a modern classic in the African literary canon. First published in the United Kingdom in 1988 by the Women’s Press.

Nervous Conditions
Second edition, 2004

Nervous Conditions

  • Paperback, 256 pages
  • Published November 29th 2004 by Seal Press (first published 1988 by The Women’s Press)
  • Author: Tsitsi Dangarembga
  • Language: English
  • Translator: David Brookshaw
  • Country: Zimbabwe
  • ISBN: 1580051340 (ISBN13: 9781580051347)
  • Literary Awards: Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book in Africa (1989)

Terra Sonâmbula (1992) by Mia Couto

Mia Couto

Terra Sonâmbula (English: Sleepwalking Land) is a novel by Mozambican writer Mia Couto, first published in 1992, and translated into English in 2006 by David Brookshaw. The novel received the National Fiction Award from the Association of Mozambican Writers (AEMO), in 1995.

sleepwalking land

Couto has managed to blend, in a unique way, African oral tradition and Portuguese literary language to turn the civil war’s harsh reality into an exceptionally beautiful nightmare. More than just a novel about the recent brutal civil war in Mozambique. This is a book read that have readers encountering African war sensibility through the writer’s fragmentary narratives – a series of tales and how they affect the people who hear them.

Set in a war-torn Mozambique during the end of the civil war when the tension between rival political parties was at its highest point. Its central characters — a young boy, Muidinga, and Tuahir, an older man. Together, they travel down a road that had been abandoned and stumbled upon a bus filled with corpses and bits of luggage. Next to one of these bodies, in a suitcase, they find a set of notebooks written by a man named Kindzu. Kindzu is in search of a mysterious band of traditional warriors called naparamas – he believed working with this group would allow him to bring honor and order to a land raped by rebels and bandits – the birth of an independent Mozambique with stability. He also gives us a glimpse of the importance of family relationships and finding an identity, both personal and national.

“On almost every page of this witty magical realist whodunit, we sense Couto’s delight on those places where language slips officialdom’s asphyxiating grasp.”—The New York Times Book Review on The Last Flight of the Flamingo

“The most prominent of the younger generation of writers in Portuguese-speaking Africa, Couto passionately and sensitively describes everyday life in poverty-stricken Mozambique.”—Guardian (London)

“Quite unlike anything else I have read from Africa.”—Doris Lessing

This novel was chosen as one of the twelve best African books of the 20th century by the panel of the Zimbabwe Book Fair. In 2014, the book was the representative text read by the Neustadt Prize jury when Couto was nominated for the 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, which he won.

  • Paperback, 224 pages
  • First publication in 1992 (Portuguese). English publication in 2006
  • Author: Mia Couto
  • Original title: Terra Sonâmbula
  • Language: Portuguese (original). English (translation)
  • Translator: David Brookshaw
  • Country: Mozambique
  • ISBN: 9781852428976 (hardback edition)
  • Literary Awards: National Fiction Award from the Association of Mozambican Writers (AEMO), in 1995

Have you read the book, Terra Sonâmbula? What do you think about Mia Couto? Add your contributions in the comments section below. If you find this interesting, share it with your friends using any of the buttons below.

Mariama Bâ, Une si longue lettre, 1979

Mariama Bâ African novel

Une si longue lettre (English: So Long a Letter) is a semi-autobiographical epistolary novel originally written in French by the Senegalese writer Mariama Ba. This African novel captures the everyday frustrations that many women face in Western African society, especially after the death of their spouses. The writer received the 1980 Noma Award for Publishing in Africa for this book.

Une si longue lettre

This novel is written as a series of letters between the main character Ramatoulaye Fall and her best friend Aissatou, describing her struggle for survival following the sudden death of Ramatoulaye’s husband Modou from a heart attack.

So Long a Letter

  • Paperback, 90 pages
  • Published June 28th 1989 by Heinemann Educational Books (first published 1979)
  • Author: Mariama Ba
  • Original title: Une si longue letter
  • Language: French
  • Edition Language: English
  • Genre: Novel
  • Country: Senegal
  • ISBN: 9782266027 (hardback edition)
  • Literary Awards: Noma Award for Publishing in Africa (1980)

What do you think about this African Novel by Mariama Bâ? Add your contributions in the comments section below. If you find this interesting, share it with your friends using any of the buttons below.

Novel: A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiongo (1967)

Ngugi wa Thiongo

A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiongo (1967): A Grain of Wheat is a novel by Kenyan award-winning novelist Ngugi wa Thiongo. The title is taken from the Gospel According to St. John, 12:24. Set in the wake of the Mau Mau rebellion and on the cusp of Kenya’s independence from Britain, focusing on the quiet Mugo, whose life is ruled by a dark secret. The plot revolves around his home village’s preparations for Kenya’s independence day celebration, Uhuru day. The novel is panoramic, and is built on a series of character, each with complicated past.

The Nobel Prize–nominated Kenyan writer’s best-known novel.

grain of wheat

You might also be interested in: Sosu’s Call by Meshack Asare (1997)

This is a must read for everyone that wants to have an understand historical events and struggles of African nations during colonial times. Specifically, Kenyan experiences of violent times that led to her independence.

What do you think about the Novel? Have you read other books by Ngugi wa Thiongo? Add your contributions in the comments section below.
If you find this interesting, share it with your friends using any of the buttons below.

Sosu’s Call by Meshack Asare (1997)

sosu's call

Sosu’s Call by Ghana’s Meshack Asare is a story of heroism and resolve. Sosu, a young disabled boy who cannot walk. He misses going to school and all the activities of the other children. All alone in his family’s compound when disaster strikes on a day when everyone is away fishing, working in the fields or at school. The waters are rising. Sosu manages to make his way through the rising waters up the hill, he raises the alarm with his drumming, and saves the village from total destruction by the sea. His heroism is rewarded when a wheelchair is donated and at last he can go to school.

An illustration about differences, about acceptance, about what it means to be “normal.” 

Won the 1999 UNESCO 1st prize for Children’s and Young People’s Literature in the Service of Tolerance.

meshack asare

What do you think about the Novel? Have you read other books by Meshack Asare? Add your contributions in the comments section below.
If you find this interesting, share it with your friends using any of the buttons below.

Chaka: A Classic Story Of The Zulu Hero


Chaka: A Classic Story Of The Zulu Hero – By Thomas Mofolo

thomas mofolo chaka

Title: Chaka
Author: Thomas Mofolo (Lesotho)
Language: Sotho
Translator: F.H. Dutton
Publication date: 1925
Published in English: 1931
ISBN: 0435902296

Chaka is a mythic retelling of the story of the rise and fall of the Zulu emperor-king Shaka. Mofolo presents Chaka as a study of human passion, of an uncontrolled and then uncontrollable ambition leading to the moral destruction of the character and the inevitable punishment. The book has been translated into English on two separate occasions. Originally translated by F. H. Dutton, it was first published in 1931 by Oxford University Press. In 1981 it was published in Heinemann’s African Writers Series.

Bones: Novel by Chenjerai Hove (1988)

chenjerai Hove

A Zimbabwean Classic

Title: Bones
Author: Chenjerai Hove (Zimbabwe)
Publisher: Baobab Books, 1988; Heineman International AWS, 1989.
ISBN: 0-435-90576-7
Award(s): 1988 Winner, Zimbabwe Literary Award. 1989 Winner, Noma Award for Publishing In Africa

The book is set on a farm in post-colonial Zimbabwe. Hove presents a wrenching portrait of a people and a country in pain, his native Zimbabwe. Bones tells a sensitive and evocation story of a Zimbabwean farm-worker, Marita, looking for his only son who has gone on to fight in the Zimbabwean War of Liberation as a freedom fighter. Marita is a strong and courageous woman, a farm worker who promises herself to be happy when she finds her son. A woman’s identity is deeply rooted in motherhood and she has a son whom she is searching for. She bears the burden of womanhood, loss of son and illiteracy and poverty at the hands of her cruel employer, the white farmer who constantly verbally abuses her and others. Bones is a powerful, moving and ambitious novel, written with exceptional linguistic control, plumbing the depths of human suffering but having the wisdom to hope. The poetic language is rich in Shona idiom.

You may also like: Ake: The Years of Childhood (1981) By Wole Soyinka