The Shadow of the Sun

“A highly detailed, heartfelt but unsentimental introduction to Africa’s afflictions and a quiet love song to its profound appeal.” – The Wall Street Journal

I first heard about this book from a travel blogger currently making his way slowly across Africa’s west coast. On his recommendation, I checked it out for myself, and have found it be an enlightening read about Africa’s history, culture, and above all, it’s beautiful people.

Written by Poland native Ryszard Kapuscinski over 40 years of traveling to Africa, I can do no better than to repeat his forward in the book :

“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 traveled 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. The continent is too large to describe. It is veritable ocean, a separate planet, a varied, immensely rich cosmos. Only with the greatest simplification, for the sake of convenience, can we say “Africa.” In reality, except as a geographical appellation, Africa does not exist.”

R.K.

You can find The Shadow of the Sun here.

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Wench, bring my ale, what say you?