Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Shadow of the Sun

I am currently cobbling together a little home-made postgraduate course in African Studies and have been trawling through Amazon's used books to see what I can get on a budget. Already arrived is Ryszard Kapuscinski's 'The Shadow of the Sun' and I am excited to get stuck in to it...I think it might be number 3 or 4 on my ever changing list of what to read.

A Polish journalist, author and historian, Kapuscinski writes this little note before launching in to his book:

I lived in Africa for several years. I first went there in 1957. Then, over the next forty years, I returned whenever the opportunity arose. I travelled extensively, avoiding official routes, palaces, important personages, and high-level politics. Instead, I opted to hitch rides on passing trucks, wander with nomads through the desert, be the guest of peasants of the tropical savannah. Their life is endless toil, a torment they endure with astonishing patience and good humour.

This is therefore not a book about Africa, but rather about some people from there - about encounters with them, and time spent together. The continent is too large to describe. It is a veritable ocean, a separate planet, a varied, immensely rich cosmos. Only with the greatest simplification, for the sake of convenience, can we say 'Africa'. In reality, except as a geographical appellation, Africa does not exist.

All suggestions of titles to be added to the reading list will be gratefully received!

1 comment:

Tom & Katie's Adventure said...

LOVE THIS BOOK! Good choice!

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