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
The two bombs exploded in quick succession, sending large chunks of shrapnel whirring across the rocky hillside. Inside a grass-walled restaurant at a nearby market, people dived to the floor, sending plates of food and scalding cups of tea on to the dirt. “Stay inside! Stay down!” someone shouted as the attacking jet roared overhead. Continue reading Hidden war that threatens Africa with spectre of another Darfur
Crouched with their machineguns and mortar tubes in shallow trenches that snake across the desiccated ground, dozens of Kenyan soldiers blink the sweat from their eyes and peer over the parapet of their defensive line. This is the first time the country has gone to war — and things have not gone entirely to plan. Continue reading Kenya’s incursion into Somalia ‘not going to plan’
There’s nothing left of the Treetops Hotel in which the young Princess Elizabeth stayed on the night her father died and she became Queen.
The original two-bedroom tree-house, built in the splayed branches of an enormous fig tree and reached by a series of ladders and platforms, was the brainchild of an eccentric Englishman, Major Eric Sherbrooke Walker: vicar’s son, Oxford graduate, war hero, bootlegger, hunter and hotelier. Continue reading Memories of the man who carried the new Queen’s baggage
Shoppers in the Somali capital stroll in a market past stalls selling mangos and melons and camel-milk tea.
But just a few blocks away from this tranquil scene near Bakara market, hidden among thorn trees and cactuses, lie the shattered remains of a Black Hawk helicopter shot down in October 1993 by militia fighters.
The Times of London Iconoclastic and bitingly funny, Binyavanga Wainaina turns clichés about Africa on their head. Tristan McConnell meets him in Nairobi
The door is open. Inside the apartment eviscerated suitcases lie on the floor. Mugs and glasses, books and an iPad clutter the dining table. Yesterday’s socks and shoes are dumped by the sofa. In the open-plan kitchen among half-unpacked shopping bags and a stack of unwashed plates stands a stocky, barrel-bellied man with orange and blue-striped hair wearing a towel.
Clutching a leather-bound edition of Colonel Gaddafi’s Green Book, Eric Zabsonré sits on a metal-framed chair.
“Gaddafi is not a dictator, he is like the father of a family; if you want something he gives it to you,” said Mr Zabsonré, the self-appointed president of Burkina Faso’s Movement for the Support of Gaddafi. “Gaddafi is Africa’s patron,” he said. “He gives from the heart and lives in the hearts of all Africans.” Continue reading Gaddafi runs out of friends in his billion-dollar bolthole