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RYSZARD KAPUSCINSKI's SHADOW OF THE SUN (My African Life)

Ryszard Kapuscinski the Polish writer and journalist

As a foreign correspondent for PAP, the Polish News Agency, until 1981, Africa was like a second home to Ryszard Kapuscinski. He was an eyewitness to  revolutions, coups and civil wars in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Experience is the best teacher they say. His life experience in Africa has given him one of the finest books ever written by a white journalist.

The shadow of the Sun, (My African Life) covers Kapuscinski's experience in Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia etc making the book brilliant and interesting for anyone interested in great humanitarian writing. The book was actually published first in Polish before translation. He writes "I lived in Africa for several years. I first went there in 1957. Then over the next forty years, I returned whenever the opportunity arose."

"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 tropical savannah. Their life is endless toil, a torment they endure with astonishing patience and good humour."

On his visit to Accra-Ghana, Kapuscinski writes "The street is a road delineated on both sides by an open sewer. There are no sidewalks. Cars mingle with crowds. Everything moves in concert, pedestrians, automobiles, bicycles, cars, cows, and goats. 

On the other side of the sewer, along the entire length of the street, domestic scenes unfold. Women pounding manioc, baking taro bulbs over the coals, cooking dishes of one sort or another, hawking chewing gum, crackers, and aspirin and washing and drying laundry"

The description of activities in Accra by Kapuscinski is actually Europe's image of Africa. More is hunger, disease and skeletal children. However; he failed to ask or write the reason Ghana or Africa in general, have been in such an appalling state for ages. 

Before the colonial masters scramble over Africa, I might say Ghana was under development. Then many years after European occupation, they left the countries they occupied after independence, leaving the countries in the same way.

In this case, why did they went to Africa at all? Is is right or wrong when one says there were only interested in the continent's rich mineral resources? To loot but nothing else. They looted the continent to build Europe and they left the countries in a deplorable state. 

Kapuscinski should have known better as a journalist. Was he expecting Ghana to be like a modern European country, when for a very long time the country has suffered from criminal activities of colonial rule?

The British and the Dutch both were in Ghana before the country attained its independence in 1957. With the Ghanaians, they also moved in concert with the cars, bicycles, cows and goats. 

Even though Kapuscinski's book is an interesting book about Africa, he should have commented deeply on the mistakes and crimes the Europeans committed in Africa during the colonial era.

The Shadow Of The Sun is available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Sun-Ryszard-Kapuscinski/dp/0679779078/
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