A mindblowing book.
Let me state this right from the start.
The journalist Kees Broere works as an Africa correspondent from Nairobi for the Dutch daily newspaper De Volkskrant. He teams up with the photographer Sven and they look for young West African men who try to find their way to the golden future in Europe. Most of them know hardly anything about Europe, let alone The Netherlands. But they do have the image of a golden future and they cling to it. They know someone or have heard about someone who touched the gold and made it big in Europe. And now they want to travel this road to the future of gold and happiness and fame and fortune. They want to remit money to their relatives in Ghana. People from the Gold Coast looking for that other land filled with gold.
Broere follows one of the maintrails from the Ghanaian capital to Moroccco. From there these young men want to make the final jump to the European continent. He meets a young man who has high hopes and he sees himself as a future soccer star. Other have been travelling this trail already many times, trying to make it, trying to make that final jump. He joins them on their journey on trucks loaded, heavily loaded, with people filled with hope. He and Sven pretend to be Zimbabweans who have been chased away from their farms and who are now on their way to Europe. Will they all make the hourney to Spain? The book ends in Amsterdam, the Dutch capital, where he meets Vincent, who lives a life in illegality in one of the suburbs of the capital. Sometimes Vincent walks to a small farm where children can cuddle small animals. He watches the goats and his dreams travel to Africa.
Kees Broere – Van Accra naar Amsterdam. Afrikaanse immigranten op weg naar Europa (pictures by Sven Torfinn) – Amsterdam 2010 – 223 pages