Dreams in A Time Of War (by Ngugi wa Thiong’o) starts in a hopeful place. Hopeful for a reason not too obvious at the start. After a day fighting hunger pangs at Kinyogori Intermediate School, Ngugi and Kenneth Mbugua, a classmate, take the longer six mile route home past the Limuru Bata Shoe factory. At a crossroads they are drawn into a crowd discussing the daring escape of a nameless man arrested close by. The crowd disputes the events and breaks up into groups. The nameless man turns out to be Wallace Mwangi also known as Good Wallace. Good Wallace is Ngugi’s brother and a Kenya Land and Freedom Army supplier. So begins a riveting memoir about growing up in colonial Kenya in a time of social, economic, world and anti-colonial war.
Africa’s World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe (by Gerard Prunier)
Published in 2009 by Hurst Publishers, Gerard Prunier’s book is not just another contemporary history of an African conflict. It questions popular thinking, reviews a number of sources, places the conflict in the context of its time, and is engagingly written. Africa’s World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe stretches its core narrative from the aftermath of the 1994 Rwanda genocide to after the 2007 elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo .
In Darfur: A New History of A Long War (published in 2008 by Zed Books), Julie Flint and Alex De Waal provide a surprisingly accessible account of how the Sudan government, Islamists, the British colonial enterprise, Arab Supremacists and Cold War politics fanned the occasional flares of local conflicts already made worse by climate change.
Insiders and Outsiders: Citizenship and Xenophobia in Contemporary Southern Africa (by Francis B. Nyamnjoh)
First published in 2006 by Zed Books, in association with the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, the book looks at xenophobia in Southern Africa, and what informs it. The author, a professor of anthropology at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, brings his considerable knowledge and insights to bear on the subject.
Gorillas in the Mist is Dian Fossey’s account of her 16 years studying and living among mountain gorillas in Rwanda and the Congo. She documents her experiences in first person, mixing self effacing anecdotes with a narrative filled with technical clarity, humor, fascinating insight, and a touching sympathy for wildlife. And while she does extensively cover the lives of several groups of gorillas, down to the minutest details, she also brings into focus the attitudes of the people that interact with these animals, and the effects of poaching in Africa’s early post colonial years.