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Heban author Ryszard Kapuściński

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Mythmaker than journalist Apparently some readers have argued that some of his errors don t matter To me they do When Kapu ci ski tells s for instance that the only bookstore in all of Ethiopia is on the Enathu Suya Saritham university campus there and that it was completely empty when he visited it and that this is the situation in most of Africa it makes a profound impression me When Ryle the scholar tellss that on his last visit there were at least a half a dozen bookshops in Addis Ababa all with books for sale in many languages I have to conclude that Kapu ci ski was either disgracefully ignorant or downright deceptive in crafting his tropical baroue Ryle s term fables The long list of other errors in Ryle s review are similarly damningIt s such a shame Kapu ci ski may have been fearless and intrepid and he certainly wrote like a master But now he s filled my mind with nforgettable images of Africa that I cannot trust The population of Africa was a gigantic matted crisscrossing web spanning the entire continent and in constant motion endlessly ndulating bunching Die Pharaonin up in one place and spreading out in another a rich fabric a colourful arras Ryszard Kapuscinski The Shadow of the SunA man I dnfortunately never heard of wrote one of the most engaging historical reflections I ve ve ever read Ryszard Kapuscinski reported on African events for a Polish newspaper for over 40 years He was definitely in Africa at the right times during the fights for independence military coups and so on Kapuscinski placed events like the Rwandan genocide and the lesser known Burundian genocide that happened alongside it in their cultural and historical contextsThere were many surprises along the way the biggest shocker for me being the fact that the descendants of former slaves the Americo Liberians just about re enacted what they had been through in America when they settled in Liberia among the indigenous Africans It s definitely a reminder of how history is often repeatedWhy I think this stands out as a historical account is not only because of the proximity of the writer to the actual events but also his observations I am always surprised when a non African writer tries to Something Radiates understand the culture in a non judgemental or critical way as pessimistic as that may sound Kapuscinski was definitely an observer and tried tonderstand things that were foreign to him things such as the African concept of time which I found very interesting and enlightening The European and the African have an entirely different concept of time In the European worldview time exists outside man exists objectively and has measurable and linear characteristics Africans apprehend time differently For them it is a much looser concept open elastic subjective It is man who influences time its shape course and rhythm Ryszard Kapuscinski The Shadow of the SunThe author showed the complexity of the African society the fact that it s not homogeneous in the leastA very easy entertaining read with passages of the most beautiful and poetic language A great introduction to African history which encouraged me to learn about the events in depth Shifting seamlessly from vignettes of daily life to grand excursions into Africa s turbulent political past Kapuscinski zig zags across vast expanses of scorching desert and lush greenery in this masterful piece of journalistic travel writing He describes people politics and landscape with eual ease The lioness stalking in the tall grasses is as riveting as the tterly fascinating character study of Idi AminThe first chapter was studded with generalisations about Africa and Africans that I have only read a few book by Kapuscinski one of which was a Penguin Great Journeys book The Cobra s Heart which is an excerpt from this book I gave that five stars and reading that book convinced me to buy of this authors work including this book which I have finally made time for from my shelfThis is probably Kapuscinski s best known book and is his highest rated book on GR Not without reason This is 5 stars for me and this was confirmed by about a third of the way throughThis book just reads well it deals in detail with some complex issues but it doesn t get bogged down and remains very easy to read and very approachable I guess Perhaps this is a nod to the skills of the translator As Well As The AuthorIt well as the authorIt not a linear narrative book It jumps around in time and in location A chapter does not necessarily follow the one before but sometimes they do Kapuscinski is known for A book like this would normally I would have imagined taken me very little time to read because I would devour it in a binge of gulpings and swallowings but it took me a good deal longer In part for the simple reason that I was taken p with other things and couldn t find the freedom to absorb myself in his world as I would have liked but also for the eually simple but at the same time profound reason that there was just too much to take inI listed it as epistolary and though it is not officially so it reads like a series of letters across a long career working in the continent of Africa as it breaks free of colonialism and steps onwards into independence Sometimes this takes him on a positive journey but far too often it brings him into contact with the dark horror or vicious oppression and poverty Years ago i read Thomas Eidson s novel St Agnes stand in which a group of nuns are cornered in the desert of the US and as I read it my throat experienced the parched land in which they were caughtand i swear I felt thirsty As I read Kapuscinski s accounts of poverty and degradation and the destruction of hope and joy I swear I felt just a little of that pain and sadness He is masterful at making you see of making you hear and smell and notice and this is a great grace Salman Rushdie talks somewhere about novels enabling s to meet and hear and encounter people from whom we would normally flee this journalist does exactly the same thingAcross this book you journey through about 50 years and he touches down in various places and
Tyrants and despots crowd around your attention alongside the poor and downtrodden The eternal optimist in his writing argues back and forth with the realist and some lovely achingly beautiful images come about He writes of political change and geographical oddities he writes of celebration and colour and welcome and then flips the coin and there is hatred and fear and isolation but through it all is this really wonderful sense of his real love for the African peoples He does not shy away from for the African peoples He does not shy away from brutality and stupidity of things that have happened he drives home the guilt and irresponsibilty of the previous colonial powers whilst not ignoring the obvious culpability of the fools and much worse the thieves and thugs so often in power now but over riding it all his eternal optimist seems to gain the pper hand He writes fondl. Eration Kapuscinski hitchhikes with caravans wanders the Sahara with nomads and lives in the poverty stricken slums of Nigeria He wrestles a king cobra to the death and suffers through a bout of malaria What emerges is an extraordinary depiction of Africa not as a group of nations or geographic locations but as a vibrant and freuently joyous montage Ryszard Kapuscinski was the foreign correspondent par excellence someone who could simultaneously travel rough report the story appreciate and approach the local people on their own terms and weave his experiences into a narrative of Graveyard Shift uncommon breadth and intelligence And it s even impressive when you realize he s covering Africa for the presumably shoestring Polish communist press Books like thesep the ante for book length journalism and show what an absolute shit job the puppets ensconced in the Times and the Post are doing Kapu ci ski first went to Africa in 1957 and over the next forty years returned whenever he could He says I travelled extensively avoiding official routes palaces important personages and high level politics Instead I opted to hitch rides on passing trucks wander with nomads through the desert be the guest of peasants of the tropical savannah Their life is endless toil a torment they endure with astonishing patience and good humor This is therefore not a book about Africa but rather about some people from there about encounters with them and time spent together From Ghana to Guinea Angola to Addis Abababa he observed analysed and wrote I m reading a biography of him now and the reports of his early years would have been infused with socialist zeal for the causes of African nationalism emerging from colonialism As well as immediate reports of events wars revolutions coups he wrote longer reports that analysed the background political social and economic factors GameMaker Studio Book - RPG Design and Coding underlying immediate events It s these I suspect that formed the basis for this book because naive enthusiasm for radical change had through experience been replaced by a full awareness that the regimes of African rulers could be just as brutal and exploitative as those of outside occupiers and in the case of rulers such as Idi Amn far worse than could have been imaginedKapu ci ski referred to his writing as literary reportage setting it apart from routine agency journalism Theality of his writing was exceptionally important to him to the point where his output was often less than his employers would have liked This has been an important book for me to read as I really know very little of Africa apart from the outlines of its history and geography and the wars famines and violence that fill our news services Certainly the latter feature largely in The Shadow of the Sun but Kapu ci ski does spend time away from the European enclaves in towns and cities with ordinary people and in the country areas where transport is almost non existent Without transport he emphasises exchange is difficult and trade almost impossible Poverty is inevitable in regions with no transport Another one of those ideas that states the obvious and shifts the way you see things ever after I borrowed a copy from the library and have now ordered two copies one for The Diary of Jack the Ripper us and one for our son I d like to know if there is anything comparable that is recent that could look back on the last 15 years Kapu ci ski was a Polish journalist who died in 2007 and who spent time in Africa between the late 1950ies and the 1990ies Africa was not his only beat but when he spent time there he spent time with the people and shared their lives when he could He was the first Polish foreign correspondent to cover Africa and he was always seriouslynderfunded compared with those representing the big European and American publications and agencies What he lacked in funds he made Brendas Private Swing up in ingenuity and a willingness to share in the lives of Africans with the result that he got the big stories a coup in Zanzibar is the subject of one piece but also the stories about the little people He went to visit friends in remote villages where there wasn t enough to eat He traveled in war zones He met the dictators and sadists who were independent Africa s first rulers Once traveling with Greek correspondent in the region of Lake Victoria he took refuge in a hut where he collapsed exhausted into a bunk only to discover a huge Egyptian cobra coilednderneath He and the Greek threw their weight behind a huge metal container their only weapon and tried to crush it The canister did not cut into the snake and they had to WRESTLE IT TO DEATH HE GOT it to death He got malaria nearly died and lived with the after affects for yearsThe pieces in this book are beautifully written Real Service undoubtedly due in part of the translator Not like journalistic pieces onesually reads with their pyramid structure and journalistic phrases and short cuts Kapu ci ski s scope was broader from the latest war or coup to serious attempts to characterize African people He put himself on the line in every piece it was personal heartfelt and wise He engaged seriously with people didn t just watch from afar or interview the participantsOne learns a great deal about the history of Africa and why in a sense there was no history Crown Mitre until the Europeans started to divide Africap into colonies and zones of interest Why there d never be a history because there were no documents at all only the oral stories the people told The chapter on Rwanda is worth the purchase of the book alone Kapu ci ski put the genocide in a context which none of the several books I read on the subject of the Rwandan genocide was able to do Similarly another long chapter on a visit to Liberia developed a context for the awful civil wars which began when an army sergeant took charge and carved p the President in his bed without even a plan for what he d sergeant took charge and carved p the President in his bed without even a plan for what he d when he became leader and was eventually carved JAPAN 1/1M3. up himself That essay ends when Kapu ci ski is allowed to travelp country and meet the tribal people which the ruling Americo Liberians called aboriginals when I visited in 1965 They are coming into Monrovia across a bridge and Kapu ci ski sees a naked man with a Kalashnikov the others carefully stepping out of his way A madman with a Kalashnikov is how he ite appropriately ends the essayKapu ci ski s focus in this book is mostly East Africa and the Sahara and Sanhel
few mentions of West Africa much of Southern Africa Not much about the civilized parts of Northern Africa Goodreads changed my experience with this book For much of the time I was reading it I was mesmerized by the writing flabbergasted by some of the information about Africa and convinced I was encountering the continent in a nuanced and subtle and authentic manner I planned to give a copy to my husband for his birthday and to recommend it to my book group Curious about what other readers thought I looked at some of the almost 500 reviews of it on goodreads and it was there that I came across one reader s reference to John Ryle s 2001 review of the book in the Times Literary Supplement httpwwwrichardwebsternetjohnrylehtml Persuasive and beautifully crafted that review points out numerous errors of fact within Shadow of the Sun errors that Ryle argues betray Kapu ci ski to be. In 1957 Ryszard Kapuscinski arrived in Africa to witness the beginning of the end of colonial rule as the first African correspondent of Poland's state newspaper From the early days of independence in Ghana to the ongoing ethnic genocide in Rwanda Kapuscinski has crisscrossed vast distances pursuing the swift and often violent events that followed lib. Y of the odd irks and traditions and emphasizes the importance of cultures listening and learning and therefore beginning to The Trial of Lizzie Borden understand each other even if not agreeing I suppose in many ways this is an imprtant service his writing might achieve He sometimes writes with his tongue firmly in his cheek and I found this an endearing breather after the sadness and bleakness of some of what he had to relate Speaking of a growing relationship with his driver Omenka with whom he worked he writesOn the day we first met I gave him nothing as we parted He walked away without so much as a good bye I dislike cold formal relations between people and I felt bad So the next time I gave him 50 naira the local currency He said goodbye and smiled this Kapuscinski relates cheered him and so he gradually increased the amounts he gave to the driver and after each increase the man s response to him also deepenedntil without stretching this story out any longer suffice it to say that I ended SpecOps: Expeditionary Force, Book 2 up showering him with so many naira that we were simplynable to part Omenka s voice was always trembling with emotion and with tears in his eyes he would swear his everlasting devotion and fidelity This humour might seem when taken out of context to be a belitling or criticizing of the driver but within the framework of Kapuscinski s admiration for Africa and its peoples it does not read like that I chose the example purely cos it made me smile and was a wonderful example of his ability to create in such a way that you met the people of whom he was speakingThere are so many lovely passages that i could just lift sentences and phrases from almost every chapter but that would be to fragment what is a really lovely creation someone described it as a mosaic and that is a great image For him Africa is ever alert to its chance for change and growth and so maybe the very last paragraph is a wonderful clarion call of hope and a good Myself Among Others uotation on which to finish Everyone walked in silence to their huts and the boys snuffed out the lights on the tables It was still night but Africa s most dazzling moment was approaching the break of day This is insightful prose written by a Polish journalist who spent years traveling around Africa beginning in the 1950s It is a collection of essays that follow Kapuscinski s time spent in Africa during coups wars racial tensions hunger starvation sickness and Though I didn t love the parts of the book that seemed highly dramatized what I really liked about this is that Kapuscinski gets into the experience living it and detailing it He s not a removed journalist In fact this book reads like a great collection of stories He talks about the racial tensions of that time the distinctive culture of each country in Africa the political climate the people the food the terrain and his own vulnerabilities There is some sun even with the shadowIt is a book filled with details vivid descriptions dialect and history narrated with storytelling ease It is the type of book which intertwines serious journalism with storytelling very appealing Ryszard Kapuscinski sitsnder the branchy shade of a solitary acacia and stares at the incommensurable moonlike landscape nfolding in front of him Plains covered with parched thorny shrubs and vast extensions of sandy ground seem ablaze in a shimmering haze that refracts on the journalist s eyes forcing him to suint Water and shade such fluid inconstant things and the two most valuable treasures in Africa this half historian half journalist recalls while revisiting the thirty years he spent roaming the most recondite spots of this battered continent castigated both by man and the most hostile aspect of nature A place where its people are one with its arid terrain blinding light and spicy smells A place where the night belongs to myth and spirits where time stretches and melts without shape or tempo A place where history does not exist in archives or time stretches and melts without shape or tempo A place where history does not exist in archives or because it can only be measured by memory by what can be recounted here and now So I sit down next to Ryszard and I listen to his chronicleWith nsentimental approach and spartan phraseology nravelled in a collage of disorderly snapshots spread out in time and assorted geography Kapuscinski evokes the Africa that runs through his veins beats in his heart and brims over his memory avoiding clich s and showing the hidden face of this mistreated continent He neither judges nor idealizes the African culture Instead he narrows his incisive perspective down to the daily life of cast leaders peasants or the bayaye beggars eluding the official routes of embassies palaces or press conferences to disclose the reality of contemporary Africa Formally presented in autobiographical narrative but with the intimate tone of a personal diary the main events of the last century are overtly disclosed colonialism racism tribal wars mass famine sadistic genocide power struggles and corruption are tackled and dissected with factual crudity Kapuscinski s account is that of a witness that of a wanderer who knows Africa to be a too disparate menagerie of tribes castes and ancient traditions to be framed as a whole The continent is too large to describe It is a veritable ocean a separate planet a varied immensely rich cosmos Only with the greatest simplification for the sake OF CONVENIENCE WE CAN SAY AFRICA convenience we can say Africa reality except as a geographical appellation Africa does not exist One needs to inhale the pungent odor of rotten fish drying out in the scorching sun to wake p in a local hospital shuddering with the feverish coldness of malaria to observe emaciated children fainting next to markets full of provisions or The Robot Lovers used as kamikaze soldiers in the militiander the effect of drugs to assume that a seless object like a casserole or a rusty bicycle can make a difference between poverty and middle class to respect tribes whose only source of income comes from a camel or a cow and their culture of exchange to nderstand that misery condemns most to death and transforms a few into monsters bloody dictators crazied executioners like Idi Am n whose demented Choosing the Right Pond uest to exterminate the Tutsis cast in Rwanda was endorsed by several European presidents One needs to live all that in order to entirely grasp the glory and the conseuence of a place like AfricaKapuscinski awakens from his reverie He stares back at me his eyes full of golden sun andnwavering sadness Sitting nder the shelter of this acacia tree I have listened to this man s soul and I have felt The Spirit of Africa I have Envisioned Life As An life as an battle as a frail euilibrium between survival and annihilation but also as a mosaic of vivid colors and ceaceless metamorphosis And I have nderstood that nothing will ever conuer the immense elephant of the world nothing will ever conuer Africa and its power within For its power remains in its The Rhetoric of Reaction untamable nature and its nature is its people. F peoples cultures and encounters Kapuscinski's trenchant observations wry analysis and overwhelming humanity paint a remarkable portrait of the continent and its people Hisnorthodox approach and profound respect for the people he meets challenge conventional nderstandings of the modern problems faced by Africa at the dawn of the twenty first centu. ,