What is like to be Afro-American in Africa? That is what Eddy wonders about. He does not entertain thoughts about his ancestry, like : I am able retrace the steps of my forefathers and foremothers.
His journey starts in Paris, a town with many people coming from West Africa. They have gone to paris in hope of gaining prosperity. He joins people in their everyday life. He visits them at home, he eats their food, he tries to talk thier kind of French, for he notices very soon that his French different is from their kind of French.
He continues his journey when het ravels to the island of Sicily, where he hopes to get a ferry to Tunesia. He takes the slow way, in order to adjust to Africa. But the ferry has already left the island. He decides to wait for the next ferry, but already after a few days he is sick of waiting. He takes a plane. The Arab-looking man no to him in the air reminds him of bombattacks and falling planes. At the end of chapter one he concludes that he is just as big a bigot as everyone else.
Eddy does not have a very specific plan. He does not drive his own car, so he cannot shield himself from other people. He meets many different people, gets guided to unfamiliar places, is being dragged around by people and his own curiosity, eats very special food. He sleeps in huts and hotels. He get get very excited and worried and annoyed about people in a uniform (policemen, customs, army), for they derive a wrong power from their uniform, so they humilate and deride other people. He is being held by the sectret service in a country in West Africa, but because he has done no wrong, they do not know what to do with him. Who can decide to release him?
From Tunesia he travels to the west coast of Africa, het crosses the continent via the Central African Republic and via Burundi he is heading south, to South Africa.
This book is a very enchanting and captivating account of a journey, humoristic at times and unsetling. He analyses his own behaviour, his annoyance and his repulsion, his revolts when he meets abuse of power and corruption. He enjoys meeting people, the common man, and at times he is fed up with all of it and all of them.
Eddy L. Harris – Native Stranger. A Black American’s Journey – 1993