The online tutoring company Preply did some research into the translation of African books and came up with some interesting findings.
According to the report, the most translated African literary text is Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s The Upright Revolution: Or Why Humans Walk Upright with 63+ translations, 43 of which are African languages. The story was originally published by Jalada Africa online but has since been republished by Seagull Press. The top five also includes Nigeria’s Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (57+) and Somalia’s Wasit Dirie for Desert Flower (39+).
Contemporary authors are on the list as well. Representing Zimbabwe is none other than NoViolet Bulowayo’s We Need New Names (12+), as well as Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s Tram 83 (10+) for Congo. In non-fiction, Guantánamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been translated into 25+ languages, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by Willima Kamkwamba over 20 languages, and Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah has over 30 translations.
Check out the full list here.
While the list is informative, you should note that it is not exhaustive. For example, it is missing titles such as Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun, which has been translated 30 times and South Africa’s Wilbur Smith novels, international bestsellers that have wracked up over 25+ translations.