In the powerful travel-writing tradition of Ryszard Kapuscinski and V.S. Naipaul, a haunting memoir of a dangerous and disorienting year of self-discovery in one of the world's unhappiest countries.
The New Kings of Crude: China, India, and the Global Struggle for Oil in Sudan and South Sudan (by Luke A. Patey)
In the past decade, the need for oil in Asia's new industrial powers, China and India, has grown dramatically. The New Kings of Crude takes the reader from the dusty streets of an African capital to Asia's glistening corporate towers to provide a first look at how the world's rising economies established new international oil empires in Sudan, amid one of Africa's longest-running and deadliest civil wars. For over a decade, Sudan fuelled the international rise of Chinese and Indian national oil companies. But the political turmoil surrounding the historic division of Africa's largest country, with the birth of South Sudan, challenged Asia's oil giants to chart a new course. Luke Patey weaves together the stories of hardened oilmen, powerful politicians, rebel fighters, and human rights activists to show how the lure of oil brought China and India into Sudan--only later to ensnare both in the messy politics of a divided country. His book also introduces the reader to the Chinese and Indian oilmen and politicians who were willing to become entangled in an African civil war in the pursuit of the world's most coveted resource. It offers a portrait of the challenges China and India are increasingly facing as emerging powers in the world.
Economic growth does not demand a secret formula. Good development examples now abound in East Asia and farther afield in others parts of Asia, and in Central America. But why then has Africa failed to realise its potential in half a century of independence? This book shows that African poverty is not because the world has denied the continent the market and financial means to compete: far from it. It has not been because of aid per se. Nor is African poverty solely a consequence of poor infrastructure or trade access, or because the necessary development and technical expertise is unavailable internationally. Why then has the continent lagged behind other developing areas when its people work hard and the continent is blessed with abundant natural resources? Stomping across the continent and the developing world in search of the answer, Greg Mills controversially shows that the main reason why Africa's people are poor is because their leaders have made this choice.
Why, twenty years into the crisis, are democratic governments performing so poorly in tackling AIDS in Africa? De Waal argues that existing approaches are driven by interests and frameworks that fail to engage with African societies' resilience and creativity. Already, African communities have confounded some of the worst predictions of disaster. If adequately supported, they will find ways of sustaining development and democracy in the midst of HIV/AIDS.
a Guma's powerful, firsthand account depicts the dedicated South African people who risked their lives in the underground movement against apartheid. The main characters, Beukes and Elias, are among others determined to undermine apartheid's blatant oppression and demeaning tactics. The author's knack for rich descriptions and weaving the past with the present transports readers to the grind of working in an underground political organization and the challenges of confronting hardships, change, and injustice on a daily basis.
Why States Recover: Changing Walking Societies into Winning Nations, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe (by Greg Mills)
State failure takes many forms. Somalia offers one extreme. The country's prolonged civil war led to the collapse of central authority, with state control devolving to warlord-led factions that competed for the spoils of local commerce, political power, and international aid. Malawi, on the other hand, is at the other end of the scale. During President Bingu's second term in office, the country's economy collapsed as a result of poor policies and Bingu's brand of personal politics. On the surface, Malawi's economy seemed largely stable; underneath, however, the polity was fractured and the economy broken. In between these two extremes of state failure are all manner of examples, many of which Mills explores in the fascinating and profoundly personal Why States Recover. Throughout he returns to his key questions: how do countries recover? What roles should both insiders and outsiders play to aid that process? Drawing on research in more than thirty countries, and incorporating interviews with a dozen leaders, Mills examines state failure and identifies instances of recovery in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. For anyone interested in the reasons behind states' failure, and remedies to ensure future economic stability, it is important reading.
After the brutal, random murder of his cousin, Kevin Bloom was left with shock, grief, and anger--and one burning question: "Why stay in South Africa?" As a journalist, Kevin Bloom had witnessed and reported on the rising tide of violence in post-Apartheid South Africa. But when his own cousin was killed in a vicious random attack, the questions he'd been asking about the troubling political and social changes in his country took on a sickeningly personal urgency. Suddenly, it felt as though this South Africa was no longer the place he'd grown up in or the place which felt like home. Still stunned by the loss, Bloom begins to trace the path of violence from the murder of his cousin in the hills of Zululand to the fatal shooting of the historian David Rattray, linking these individual crimes to the riven political landscape, and the riots and xenophobic attacks of 2008. Visceral, complicated, and compassionate, "Ways of Staying" is an eloquent account of how the white community is coping with black majority rule, and in particular how one family is coping in the aftermath of their own private tragedy.
Renowned worldwide, as novelist and dramatist, Ngugi wa Thiongo's contributions to the body of critical writing on African literature, politics and society have been highly significant. His best known critical work is Decolonising the Mind, which since publication in 1986 has profoundly influenced other writers, critics, scholars and students. These latest essays reflect Ngugi's continuing interests and enthusiasms. His choice of writers is original. He makes us look again at their novels to address his lifelong concerns with the ways to independence, the meanings of colonialism and the takeover by neo-colonialism, and the functions of literature in political as well as literary terms. They will appeal not only to his international band of supporters. They will also introduce his views to young people discovering African and Caribbean literature.
As poverty and unemployment deepen in contemporary South Africa, the burning question becomes, how do the poor survive? This book provides a compelling answer. Based on intensive fieldwork, it shows how many African households are on the brink of collapse. That they keep going at all can largely be attributed to the struggles of older women against poverty. They are the fulcrum on which household survival turns. This book describes how households in two different areas in KwaZulu-Natal are sites of both stability and conflict. As one of the interviewees put it: "We eat from one pot and should always help each other." Yet the stability of family networks is becoming fragile because of the enormous burden placed on them by unemployment and unequal power relations. Many of the households are extremely poor, relying on a total monthly income of less than R800. People live on little more than maize meal, tea and sugar. However, the book also demonstrates that they are not passive victims of poverty. Women, in particular, show impressive qualities of energy and resourcefulness. They engage in a number of informal sector activities, and many are active in a range of faith, and community and home-based care associations
The Bonds of War is the story of two boys, whose lives intersect in the middle of a war that ravages Africa's heartland. Using the first-person narrative to powerful effect, The Bonds of War relives their story of unimaginable violence, suffering, cruelty and survival. The narrator, Jean Baptiste (JB) and his friend forge an unlikely bond as they fight to survive the madness around them. In this ambitious work of historical fiction, Wambalye Weikama delivers a fresh perspective that goes beyond the surface of what we know about the Rwandan genocide and the civil war it sparked in the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the heart of the story are many deep questions that bring us to reflect on the long term effects of violence, the resilience of the human spirit, and the promise of young love.
Corrupt, mismanaged, and seemingly hopeless: that's how the international community viewed Nigeria in the early 2000s. Then Nigeria implemented a sweeping set of economic and political changes and began to reform the unreformable. This book tells the story of how a dedicated and politically committed team of reformers set out to fix a series of broken institutions, and in the process repositioned Nigeria's economy in ways that helped create a more diversified springboard for steadier long-term growth. The author, Harvard- and MIT-trained economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, currently Nigeria's Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance and formerly Managing Director of the World Bank, played a crucial part in her country's economic reforms. In Nigeria's Debt Management Office, and later as Minister of Finance, she spearheaded negotiations with the Paris Club that led to the wiping out of $30 billion of Nigeria's external debt, 60 percent of which was outright cancellation.Reforming the Unreformable offers an insider's view of those debt negotiations; it also details the fight against corruption and the struggle to implement a series of macroeconomic and structural reforms. This story of development economics in action, written from the front lines of economic reform in Africa, offers a unique perspective on the complex and uncertain global economic environment.
Hailed as "a monumental history . . . more exciting than any novel" (NRC Handelsblad),David van Reybrouck’s rich and gripping epic, in the tradition of Robert Hughes' The Fatal Shore, tells the extraordinary story of one of the world's most devastated countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo. Epic in scope yet eminently readable, penetrating and deeply moving, David van Reybrouck's Congo: The Epic History of a People traces the fate of one of the world's most critical, failed nation-states, second only to war-torn Somalia: the Democratic Republic of Congo. Van Reybrouck takes us through several hundred years of history, bringing some of the most dramatic episodes in Congolese history. Here are the people and events that have impinged the Congo's development—from the slave trade to the ivory and rubber booms; from the arrival of Henry Morton Stanley to the tragic regime of King Leopold II; from global indignation to Belgian colonialism; from the struggle for independence to Mobutu's brutal rule; and from the world famous Rumble in the Jungle to the civil war over natural resources that began in 1996 and still rages today. Van Reybrouck interweaves his own family's history with the voices of a diverse range of individuals—charismatic dictators, feuding warlords, child-soldiers, the elderly, female merchant smugglers, and many in the African diaspora of Europe and China—to offer a deeply humane approach to political history, focusing squarely on the Congolese perspective and returning a nation's history to its people.
Soraya was just fifteen, a schoolgirl in the coastal town of Sirte, when she was given the honor of presenting a bouquet of flowers to Colonel Gaddafi, "the Guide," on a visit he was making to her school the following week. This one meeting--a presentation of flowers, a pat on the head from Gaddafi--changed Soraya's life forever. Soon afterwards, she was summoned to Bab al-Azizia, Gaddafi's palatial compound near Tripoli, where she joined a number of young women who were violently abused, raped and degraded by Gaddafi. Heartwrenchingly tragic but ultimately redemptive, Soraya's story is the first one of many that are just now beginning to be heard. But sex and rape remain the highest taboo in Libya, and women like Soraya (whose identity is protected by a pseudonym here) risk being disowned or even killed by their dishonored family members. In "Gaddafi's Harem," an instant bestseller on publication in France, where it has already sold more than 100,000 copies in hardcover, "Le Monde" special correspondent Annick Cojean gives a voice to Soraya's story, and supplements her investigation into Gaddafi's abuses of power through interviews with people who knew Soraya, as well as with other women who were abused by Gaddafi.
In recent years, technological advances, higher commodity prices and a global thirst for energy have meant that African oil and gas are increasingly in demand. Countries as far apart as Niger, Uganda, Chad, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania are looking at the prospect of almost unimaginable flows of money into their national budgets. But the story of African oil has usually been associated with disaster - older producers such as Nigeria, Angola and Cameroon have little to show for the many billions of dollars they've earned, and oil money has been shown to fuel conflict and corruption, creating a so-called 'resource curse'. In this revealing and insightful book, former BBC correspondent Celeste Hicks questions the inevitability of such an outcome, revealing what the discovery of oil means for the ordinary Africans through original testimony from those working in the oil industries and the communities that surround them. A much-needed account of an issue that will likely transform the fortunes of a number of African countries - for better or for worse.
Despite billions of dollars of aid and the best efforts of the international community to improve economies and bolster democracy across Africa, violent dictatorships persist. As a result, millions have died, economies are in shambles, and whole states are on the brink of collapse. Political observers and policymakers are starting to believe that economic aid is not the key to saving Africa. So what does the continent need to do to throw off the shackles of militant rule? African policy expert George Ayittey argues that before Africa can prosper, she must be free. Taking a hard look at the fight against dictatorships around the world, from Ukraine's orange revolution in 2004 to Iran's Green Revolution last year, he examines what strategies worked in the struggle to establish democracy through revolution. Ayittey also offers strategies for the West to help Africa in her quest for freedom, including smarter sanctions and establishing fellowships for African students.
In January 2003, Kenya was hailed as a model of democracy after the peaceful election of its new president, Mwai Kibaki. By appointing respected longtime reformer John Githongo as anticorruption czar, the new Kikuyu government signaled its determination to end the corrupt practices that had tainted the previous regime. Yet only two years later, Githongo himself was on the run, having secretly compiled evidence of official malfeasance throughout the new administration. Unable to remain silent, Githongo, at great personal risk, made the painful choice to go public. The result was a Kenyan Watergate. Michela Wrong's account of how a pillar of the establishment turned whistle-blower--becoming simultaneously one of the most hated and admired men in Kenya--grips like a political thriller while probing the very roots of the continent's predicament.
The Looting Machine: Warlords, Oligarchs, Corporations, Smugglers, and the Theft of Africa's Wealth (by Tom Burgis)
The trade in oil, gas, gems, metals and rare earth minerals wreaks havoc in Africa. During the years when Brazil, India, China and the other “emerging markets” have transformed their economies, Africa’s resource states remained tethered to the bottom of the industrial supply chain. While Africa accounts for about 30 per cent of the world’s reserves of hydrocarbons and minerals and 14 per cent of the world’s population, its share of global manufacturing stood in 2011 exactly where it stood in 2000: at 1 percent. In his first book, The Looting Machine, Tom Burgis exposes the truth about the African development miracle: for the resource states, it's a mirage. The oil, copper, diamonds, gold and coltan deposits attract a global network of traders, bankers, corporate extractors and investors who combine with venal political cabals to loot the states' value. And the vagaries of resource-dependent economies could pitch Africa’s new middle class back into destitution just as quickly as they climbed out of it. The ground beneath their feet is as precarious as a Congolese mine shaft; their prosperity could spill away like crude from a busted pipeline. This catastrophic social disintegration is not merely a continuation of Africa’s past as a colonial victim. The looting now is accelerating as never before. As global demand for Africa’s resources rises, a handful of Africans are becoming legitimately rich but the vast majority, like the continent as a whole, is being fleeced. Outsiders tend to think of Africa as a great drain of philanthropy. But look more closely at the resource industry and the relationship between Africa and the rest of the world looks rather different. In 2010, fuel and mineral exports from Africa were worth $333 billion, more than seven times the value of the aid that went in the opposite direction. But who received the money? For every Frenchwoman who dies in childbirth, 100 die in Niger alone, the former French colony whose uranium fuels France’s nuclear reactors. In petro-states like Angola three-quarters of government revenue comes from oil. The government is not funded by the people, and as result it is not beholden to them. A score of African countries whose economies depend on resources are rentier states; their people are largely serfs. The resource curse is not merely some unfortunate economic phenomenon, the product of an intangible force. What is happening in Africa’s resource states is systematic looting. Like its victims, its beneficiaries have names.
The humanitarian tragedy in Darfur has stirred politicians, Hollywood celebrities and students to appeal for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Beyond the horrific pictures of sprawling refugee camps and lurid accounts of rape and murder lies a complex history steeped in religion, politics, and decades of internal unrest. Darfur traces the origins, organization and ideology of the infamous Janjawiid and other rebel groups, including the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement. It also analyzes the confused responses of the Sudanese government and African Union. This thoroughly updated edition also features a powerful analysis of how the conflict has been received in the international community and the varied attempts at peacekeeping.