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.
Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much." The most famous and important novel in South Africa's history, and an immediate worldwide bestseller when it was published in 1948, Alan Paton's impassioned novel about a black man's country under white man's law is a work of searing beauty. The eminent literary critic Lewis Gannett wrote, "We have had many novels from statesmen and reformers, almost all bad; many novels from poets, almost all thin. In Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country the statesman, the poet and the novelist meet in a unique harmony." Cry, the Beloved Country is the deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son, Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice. Remarkable for its lyricism, unforgettable for character and incident, Cry, the Beloved Country is a classic work of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man.
Nnu Ego, a hard-working, optimistic Ibo woman, remains fiercely determined to save her children from the devastation of war, the erosion of village life, and the breakdown of tradition.
In Philida, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, André Brink—“one of South Africa's greatest novelists” (The Telegraph)—gives us his most powerful novel yet; the truly unforgettable story of a female slave, and her fierce determination to survive and to be free. It is 1832 in South Africa, the year before slavery is abolished and the slaves are emancipated. Philida is the mother of four children by Francois Brink, the son of her master. When Francois’s father orders him to marry a woman from a prominent Cape Town family, Francois reneges on his promise to give Philida her freedom, threatening instead to sell her to new owners in the harsh country up north. Here is the remarkable story—based on individuals connected to the author’s family—of a fiercely independent woman who will settle for nothing and for no one. Unwilling to accept the future that lies ahead of her, Philida continues to test the limits and lodges a complaint against the Brink family. Then she sets off on a journey—from the southernmost reaches of the Cape, across a great wilderness, to the far north of the country—in order to reclaim her soul.
The more Chike saw the ferry-boats the more he wanted to make the trip to Asaba. But where would he get the money? He did not know. Still, he hoped. Eleven-year-old Chike longs to cross the Niger River to the city of Asaba, but he doesn’t have the sixpence he needs to pay for the ferry ride. With the help of his friend S.M.O.G., he embarks on a series of adventures to help him get there. Along the way, he is exposed to a range of new experiences that are both thrilling and terrifying, from eating his first skewer of suya under the shade of a mango tree, to visiting the village magician who promises to double the money in his pocket. Once he finally makes it across the river, Chike realizes that life on the other side is far different from his expectations, and he must find the courage within him to make it home. Chike and the River is a magical tale of boundaries, bravery, and growth, by Chinua Achebe, one of the world’s most beloved and admired storytellers.
Longlisted for the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction - A Finalist for the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize - A Finalist for the Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize - Longlisted for the International DUBLIN Literary Award - One of the Best Black Heritage Reads (Essence Magazine) - One of NPR's Best Books of the Year - One of The Millions' and Refinery 29's Best Books of the Year (So Far), from One of Publishers Weekly's Writers to Watch Loving thy neighbor is easier said than done. Hortensia James and Marion Agostino are neighbors. One is black, the other white. Both are successful women with impressive careers. Both have recently been widowed, and are living with questions, disappointments, and secrets that have brought them shame. And each has something that the woman next door deeply desires. Sworn enemies, the two share a hedge and a deliberate hostility, which they maintain with a zeal that belies their age. But, one day, an unexpected event forces Hortensia and Marion together. As the physical barriers between them collapse, their bickering gradually softens into conversation and, gradually, the two discover common ground. But are these sparks of connection enough to ignite a friendship, or is it too late to expect these women to change?
In Europe, 14% of the adult population is classed as disabled; the figure is 21% in the US. But the horizons of people with limited mobility, whether through disability or age, are fast expanding. This guidebook is the first to explore the five major safari countries – Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa – specifically with limited mobility in mind. It examines the services offered by African operators catering to disabled travellers, enabling easy comparisons and informed choices. It discovers accessible accommodation in world-famous locations such as the Serengeti/Masai Mara ecosystem in East Africa, Namibia's Etosha National Park and Botswana's elephant paradise, Chobe. With explanations of flight and airport procedure, travel insurance and health concerns, and suggestions for the best itineraries for each region, it opens the doors of Africa to those with limited mobility.
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
Africa’s World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of Continental Catastrophe (by Gerard Prunier)
The Rwandan genocide sparked a horrific bloodbath that swept across sub-Saharan Africa, ultimately leading to the deaths of some four million people. In this extraordinary history of the recent wars in Central Africa, Gerard Prunier offers a gripping account of how one grisly episode laid the groundwork for a sweeping and disastrous upheaval. Prunier vividly describes the grisly aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, when some two million refugees--a third of Rwanda's population--fled to exile in Zaire in 1996. The new Rwandan regime then crossed into Zaire and attacked the refugees, slaughtering upwards of 400,000 people. The Rwandan forces then turned on Zaire's despotic President Mobutu and, with the help of a number of allied African countries, overthrew him. But as Prunier shows, the collapse of the Mobutu regime and the ascension of the corrupt and erratic Laurent-D sir Kabila created a power vacuum that drew Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Sudan, and other African nations into an extended and chaotic war. The heart of the book documents how the whole core of the African continent became engulfed in an intractible and bloody conflict after 1998, a devastating war that only wound down following the assassination of Kabila in 2001. Prunier not only captures all this in his riveting narrative, but he also indicts the international community for its utter lack of interest in what was then the largest conflict in the world.
Ten-year-old Akimbo lives on a game preserve in Africa. His father is the head ranger, and Akimbo is eager to help him whenever he can--even if it means getting into some pretty dangerous situations. In "Akimbo and the Lions," Akimbo helps his father set a trap for a lioness that has been attacking cattle on nearby farms. But when the lion they catch turns out to be a cub, Akimbo must find a way to care for the young lion until it's old enough to be released in the wild.
At Cape Three Points on the beautiful Ghanaian coast, a canoe washes up at an oil rig site. The two bodies in the canoe--who turn out to be a prominent, wealthy, middle-aged married couple--have obviously been murdered; the way Mr. Smith-Aidoo has been gruesomely decapitated suggests the killer was trying to send a specific message--but what, and to whom, is a mystery. The Smith-Aidoos, pillars in their community, are mourned by everyone, but especially by their niece Sapphire, a successful pediatric surgeon in Ghana's capital, Accra. She is not happy that months have passed since the murder and the rural police have made no headway. When the Ghanaian federal police finally agree to get involved, Detective Inspector Darko Dawson of the Accra police force is sent out to Cape Three Points to investigate. Pretty as the coast is, he is not happy to be sent away from his wife and two sons, the younger of whom is recovering from a heart operation. And the more he learns about the case, the more convoluted and dangerous it becomes. Three Points has long been inhabited by tribal villages of subsistence fishers, but real estate entrepreneurs and wealthy oil companies have been trying to bribe the tribes to move out. Dawson roots out a host of motives for murder, ranging from personal vendettas to corporate conspiracies.
"From the legendary author of "Things Fall Apart" comes a longawaited memoir about coming of age with a fragile new nation, then watching it torn asunder in a tragic civil war"
The defining experience of Chinua Achebe's life was the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, of 1967-1970. The conflict was infamous for its savage impact on the Biafran people, Chinua Achebe's people, many of whom were starved to death after the Nigerian government blockaded their borders. By then, Chinua Achebe was already a world-renowned novelist, with a young family to protect. He took the Biafran side in the conflict and served his government as a roving cultural ambassador, from which vantage he absorbed the war's full horror. Immediately after, Achebe took refuge in an academic post in the United States, and for more than forty years he has maintained a considered silence on the events of those terrible years, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry. Now, decades in the making, comes a towering reckoning with one of modern Africa's most fateful events, from a writer whose words and courage have left an enduring stamp on world literature.
Achebe masterfully relates his experience, bothas he lived it and how he has come to understand it. He begins his story with Nigeria's birth pangs and the story of his own upbringing as a man and as a writer so that we might come to understand the country's promise, which turned to horror when the hot winds of hatred began to stir. To read "There Was a Country" is to be powerfully reminded that artists have a particular obligation, especially during a time of war. All writers, Achebe argues, should be committed writers--they should speak for their history, their beliefs, and their people.
Marrying history and memoir, poetry and prose, "There Was a Country "is a distillation of vivid firsthand observation and forty years of research and reflection. Wise, humane, and authoritative, it will stand as definitive and reinforce Achebe's place as one of the most vital literary and moral voices of our age.
Nelson Mandela: By Himself is the definitive book of quotations from one of the great leaders of our time. This collection - gathered from privileged authorised access to Mandela's vast personal archive of private papers, speeches, correspondence and audio recordings - features nearly 2,000 quotations spanning over 60 years, many previously unpublished. Mandela's inspirational quotations are organised into over 300 categories for easy reference, including such aspects as what defines greatness in 'Character', 'Courage' and 'Optimism', while we learn from the great man the essence of democracy, freedom and struggle in the categories 'Democracy', 'History', 'Racism', 'Reconciliation' and 'Unity'. Nelson Mandela: By Himself is the first, and only, authorised and authenticated collection of quotations by one of the world's most admired individuals.
From Chinua Achebe, father of modern African literature, comes a vivid fable about power and freedom -- In the beginning, all the animals lived as friends. Their king, the leopard, was strong but gentle and wise. Only Dog had sharp teeth, and only he scoffed at the other animals' plan to build a common shelter for resting out of the rain. But when Dog is ? ooded out of his own cave, he attacks the leopard and takes over as king. And it is then, after visiting the blacksmith's forge and knocking on Thunder's door, that the angry leopard returns to regain his throne by the menace of his own threatening new claws. In a riveting fable for young readers about the potency and dangers of power taken by force, Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, author of THINGS FALL APART, evokes themes of liberation and justice that echo his seminal novels about post-colonial Africa. Glowing with vibrant color, Mary GrandPre's expressive and action filled paintings bring this unforgettable tale to dramatic life. (Ages 6-9)
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.
More talking. Less suffering. More living alive with intention and joy. Helena Dolny imagines a world in which people engage in death-in-life conversations as part of everyday living. She believes we’d live better and suffer less if we were to talk about dying more readily. Archbishop Desmond Tutu told her:‘This taboo about not talking about dying…needs to be challenged.’ Helena interviewed family and friends as well as people across continents in diverse professions including the funeral business, palliative care, spiritual leaders and financial advisors. The outcome: 57 stories on nine themes that will stop you in your tracks and make you think about how you choose to live and how you’d prefer to die. This book’s rich cast of storytellers does not provide answers. The gift Before Forever After offers is the inspiration to craft clearer and sharper questions so that you, the reader, may shape your own unique response to this fierce, fundamental and inevitable force of life.
Since childhood, many have been told that the right way to live life is to grow up, establish a career, get married, and live happily ever after. While many have lived their lives in this way, and many more aspire to do so, some are left wondering whether this way of life is right for everyone. Serena and Emeka are two young women from Africa whose lives intersect in Canada as they search of a better life than they would have known in their homelands. Their search for a perfect life, perfect love and success implores them to make tough and desperate choices, often acting counter to their own life principles. Their journey confronts the reader with many of the real issues that are prevalent in third-world countries; war, brain drain, famine, sex and the misguided notion that a better life awaits all those who travel to the western world. It is a story about two young women who emigrate from Africa in search of greener pastures abroad; white picket fence, better jobs and ultimately better spouses. The rosy picture they had of the western world immediately changes upon arrival at their destination. The story tackles the reality young women face in pursuit of a sense of belonging and ultimate self-realization. With different backgrounds, the two main characters interact with other supporting characters in tragic, romantic, and positive ways. They say the only thing that man can do to impede his own happiness is to search for it... Join the characters of this book in their tumultuous and enlightening journey, as they uncover the truth about themselves and their dreams.
A desperate need. Ambitious illegal Immigrant Wale Ademola has the perfect solution to avoid deportation: a contract marriage to attractive stranger, Jennifer Lennox. Nothing could possibly go wrong- that is until Jennifer makes a demand that threatens to jeopardize Wale's greatest desire. A seductive mistake Sheltered Christian housewife Sade Williams thinks nothing of secretly working behind her husbands back. When a devastating discovery at home causes Sade to question the integrity of her marriage and faith, she turns to her charming colleague, Wale for comfort. And then the unthinkable happens... A deadly obsession. Embittered by a wrecked contract and a shattered heart, Jennifer Lennox sets on the warpath of vengeance... Twisted in a web of infidelity, deceit and lies, three individuals must battle insurmountable challenges- on a journey across two continents- to discover that it is in the midst of despair, confusion and desperation that God's unconditional; all- consuming love shines the brightest.