By Howard W. French
Africa first captivated New York occasions journalist Howard W. French greater than twenty-five years in the past, yet his wisdom of and keenness for the continent has the intensity of a life-time organization. His reviews there woke up him as not anything ahead of to the selfishness and shortsightedness of the wealthy, the affliction and dignity of the terrible and the makes use of and abuses of strength. And during this powerfully written, profoundly felt publication, he provides us an unstinting account of the disastrous effects of the fateful, centuries-old come upon among Africa and the West.
French delineates the betrayal and greed of the West–often aided and abetted by way of Africa’s personal leaders–that have given upward push to the expanding exploitation of Africa’s usual assets and its humans. Coarse self-interest and outright greed as soon as generated a necessity for the continent’s rubber, cotton, gold and diamonds, let alone slaves; now the points of interest contain offshore oil reserves and minerals like coltan, which powers mobile phones.
He takes us inside of Nigeria, Liberia, Mali and the Congo, reading with strange perception the legacy of colonization within the lives of up to date Africans. He appears on the tragedies of the AIDS epidemic, the Ebola outbreak and the genocide that ended in hundreds of thousands of deaths in Rwanda and the Congo. He makes transparent the systematic failure of Western political leaders–the nurturers of tyrants akin to Mobuto Sese Seko and Laurent Kabila, whose tales are informed right here in complete detail–and the brutal excesses of the CIA.
In assisting us to higher comprehend the continent, and certainly Africans themselves, French is helping us see in addition the desire and probability that lie within the myriad cultural strengths of Africa.
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Extra info for A Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa
The clandestine operations of Conjurers and supernatural specialists, for example, were a scourge to slaveowners. James Henry Hammond, the prominent proslavery ideologue of South Carolina, described his great frustration with the rampant destructiveness of Conjure practitioners on his estate, who had been involved in numerous incidents of vandalism, unauthorized doctoring, and theft of his personal property. Unsuccessfully, Hammond had tried to expose those who were involved with prohibited spiritual activities, but his slaves’ belief that they were supernaturally protected from his reprisals allowed them to thwart his attempts to dominate their collective wills.
Perhaps the most famous black Conjure man of all, the Gullah “Doctor” Buzzard, was said to have financed the building of the largest church on St. 32 To be sure, African American Conjurers were often devoutly religious. William Adams, an ex-slave from Texas who was interviewed at the age of ninety-one, cultivated a distinguished reputation among his peers for his esoteric interpretations of biblical lore. Adams, who was sought after for his healing knowledge, attributed his expertise to the power of God and found sanction for his beliefs in the doctrines of Christianity.
But typological categories can obscure the fact that indigenous African religions are not compartmentalized. Many African people of the past, as now, drew few distinctions between the substance of their beliefs and the other aspects of the world in which they participated. A spiritual reality governed human life, within belief systems that were not elaborated as philosophical or speculative knowledge but rather enfolded ways of being and living. Africans arriving in the West during the period of the slave trade would have subscribed to a view of the universe with no divisions between sacred and profane.