Do we travel widely getting to know the continent and its people, and write about the political and economic situations so that readers will have a better understanding? Or do we simply trot out tired clichés and promote prejudices?
In “How not to write about Africa,” a recent opinion piece for Foreign Policy, Laura Seay, an assistant professor at Morehouse College in Atlanta, describing herself as “an old Africa hand,” bemoaned the foreign coverage of Africa. It makes her “cringe,” she wrote.
The Times of London Review of ‘Radio Congo’ by Ben Rawlence
Riding pillion on a motorbike piloted by a beer-loving priest through a rain sodden town lost in Congo’s endless jungle, Ben Rawlence arrives at an art deco villa built by a Belgian mining company half a century ago.
Like the town, Manono, in which it sits the villa was abandoned after independence, devoured by corruption and the voracious undergrowth, pillaged by war and eventually reclaimed by more foreigners, this time from the United Nations. Continue reading Heart of Darkness to the hearts of people
Part 1: South Kordofan: Sudan’s latest humanitarian disaster
From the place on a hilltop that Ibrahim Nahar now calls home there is a commanding view of the tree-dotted savannah stretching into the distance and of the skies above. Every few minutes his eyes dart upwards, warily searching for the ghostly shimmer of an aircraft.
Next to his rough wooden bed beneath a makeshift grass-roofed shelter a solitary pig, a few goats and a skinny chicken take turns scratching in the dirt for scraps. Tangles of clothes hang from the rafters, and nearby some of his dozen children peek out from the dark gaps and caves between huge boulders.
Part 2: Thousands flee to a new refugee camp in South Sudan
One night, driving in a pick-up on a road that was no more than tire tracks through the thick sand, we stopped for some hitchhikers: one was a rebel soldier, eight others civilians, one slumping heavily against a wooden crutch.
Later we passed a truck that rattled and shook, belching dark smoke and the stink of burned engine oil into the black night and pulled over among the acacia trees. It was rammed full of refugees.
Part 3: Sudan’s rebels uniting to topple Bashir’s Islamic regime
We were smuggled into South Kordofan, the province in Sudan in which the Nuba Mountains lie, by rebels from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-North).
The people here fought alongside southern rebels (the SPLA) during a 22-year civil war that ended in 2005. SPLA leader John Garang had a vision of a reformed but unified Sudan in which all tribes and religions would get along together.
The war against Khartoum is political and ideological, but increasingly it looks as if it must be won or lost on the battlefield.
On a stretch of wooded savannah encircled by a natural amphitheater of hills, new recruits to the rebel army clutch sticks instead of guns as they practice drills. Among the spirited newcomers is 23-year-old Osman Hussein. “I am fighting for the rights of the Nuba people,” he says. “I am not afraid. Even if I die it will be fighting for my people and my land.”