The Shadow of the Sun
by Ryszard Kapuscinski
This book takes you on a rare journey where few outsiders go, deep into the interior regions of Africa, and where Kapuscinski takes you into the heart of its people. He is not merely an objective correspondent looking outside in but rather becomes a part of the daily fabric. He sees and writes from his humanity and offers a sensitive glimpse that is rare coming from a white man.
He respects Africa’s people first, its culture, its spirit and inexhaustible means of survival. He lives, eats, sleeps, listens, makes do without, alongside, and with, the many people and places he encounters and has the opportunity to share his life with. He hitchhikes with caravans, wanders the Sahara, lives in poverty stricken slums of Nigeria and literally tries to span as much of the interior continent as he can. Malaria almost does him in, along with a king cobra snake, while heat, thirst and hunger follow him everywhere and offer many reminders that he too, can walk a fine line between life to death. The almost non-existent infrastructure offers many challenges to get from one place to the next and the rhythm of the people seem to fluctuate according to the flow.
The story is a travelogue of history that begins in 1958 at the beginning of the end of colonial rule. He starts with the liberation of Ghana, the rise of Kwame Nkrumah, and follows the many upheavals and often violent turbulent events that trail in the path of liberation. He captures the rise and bloody demise of several brutal dictator regimes and recounts the horrible genocide of Rwanda. He is the first African correspondent of Poland’s state newspaper and covers each event not just to report for the sake of news but to report for the sake of human awareness and accountability. He does so with such a poignancy that the gravity and seriousness of the situations are deeply felt.
Through it all Kapuscinski captures a variety of vibrant people that respond in kind to their environment, culture, ancestral roots, and make it work despite the many obstacles. For each and every leg of the journey do the ancient voices and spirit of Africa resound as reflected in the diverse uniqueness of her people.
The ending of the book…said it all ))))))The Shadow of the Sun
by Ryszard Kapuscinski