In this book by the journalist Richard Dowden there is a chapter on Congo / Zaire. Nice to compare it with the book on Congo by the Belgian writer David van Reybrouck. Dowden has a more topdown approach, the history of those in power and the encounters he had with the influential.

Both write about the influence of China on Congo and about the thousands of Congolese who went to work in China and who are often involved in trade. China is pushing Europe and the United States out of the marketplace. The future seems to be with the relationship China – Africa.

Dowden opens his book with impressions from his earlier years when he was a young teacher at a small rural school in Uganda. What did he learn there?  What were his odds? Later on he travels all over the continent as a correspondent of a few outstanding British newspapers.

He describes the chaotic situation in Somalia. The statecorruption in Kenya. The vast potential of Nigeria. The complexity of the HIV/AIDS situation.

This book is a beautiful introduction when you want to know more about Africa. Written with love, amazement and shock.

Richard Dowden – Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles – 2008 (preface written by Chinua Achebe)

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I enjoy reading about Africa. New books. Old books. By African writers. By non-African writers. Novel. History. Travel. Biographies. Autobiographies. Politics. Colonialism. Poetry.

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