Nile Valley Books: the power of knowledge

Nohsakhre Ibrahim holds one of his favourite books in his store.

Nile Valley Books: the power of knowledge

It is February and officially Black History Month. Here’s a profile I did on an entrepreneur within the black community. This article also appears in the current issue of Sway magazine.


A local entrepreneur with big dreams and aspirations since 1986 decided to take his love of books and learning and opened a bookstore to service the African and Caribbean community in Toronto.

 Nohsakhre Ibrahim opened Nile Valley Books in February 1999 firmly believing in the African adage – the more you know yourself, the more you know other people.  Ibrahim felt there was a need to create a bookstore carrying a broader range of books instrumental to edifying the black community.   He recognized the historical importance of the Nile Valley to world history and culture and decided to name his store after it.

“I wanted my bookstore to be that foundation of knowledge… let’s pick ourselves up; look at the mistakes we’ve made; correct them and go fourth.  It is important to read and understand who you are and where you’ve come from,” he said.

In 1986, Ibrahim started selling books as a mobile carrier and at that time the only bookstore providing literature for the black community was the Third World Bookstore.  He considered the book philosophy of the Third World Bookstore as a supplier of mostly political books.  He decided to change this landscape and create a store with a diverse selection of books fostering positive images of the African and Caribbean community and also accessible to those who live in the east end of Toronto.

Ibrahim has created a faithful customer base in Toronto by appearing at a variety of conferences and events such as Afrofest and the Toronto African Dance Festival.  He has taken his love of learning and educating others about their African heritage seriously.

“I want people to have a positive attitude about Africa.  I want to improve the mentality; the pride level and the accomplishments of African people where ever we live.  Nile Valley Books is trying to show African people we are a family no matter where we come from,” he said.

Nile Valley Books is located at 1921 Gerrard Street East.  For information on store hours and recommended book titles, call: 416-686-7411.

Top picks for Black History Month

1) The Philosophy and Opinion of Marcus Garvey: compiled by Amy Jacques Garvey

2) MAAT: the 11 Laws of God by Ra Un Nefer Amen

3) We are the Washitaw: The Indigenous Black Inhabitants of North America: compiled under the direction of the Empress of Washitaw: Verdiacee Tiari Washitaw-Turner Goston El-Bey; By Dr. R.A. Umar Shabazz Bey

4) The Blacker the Berry Poems.  By Joyce Carol Thomas


~ by Natasha C. on February 9, 2010.

One Response to “Nile Valley Books: the power of knowledge”

  1. Hello – I would like to stop by your store on Gerrard St. to purchase some books and discuss the possibility of you coming to my work location to discuss your books at our Black History Month Celebration. I can be reached at 416-750-3513 Ext 233.

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