How Many Countries?
20 May 2012 | Places
Every now and then I bump into somebody who’s busy trekking around the world putting a ‘been there’ tick beside a list of every country in the world. You can have arcane arguments about what ‘been there’ means – is the airport transit lounge good enough? But the start...
King Leopold’s Ghost
7 July 2011 | Media
‘A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa’ is the subtitle of this page-turner of a history. The Greed is down to King Leopold, the Belgian horror story, who grabbed a large tranche of central Africa and ran it ruthlessly as his personal colony. The Ter...
Dancing in the Glory of Monsters
16 June 2011 | Media
Jason Stearns’ book Dancing in the Glory of Monsters tries to unpick the story of ‘The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa.’ Clearly a near impossible task, because you’re still left fairly bemused at the end how all these events – from the Cold War to t...
2 December 2010 | Media
I’ve never been to Congo – to either of them, Republic of Congo (the ex-French one, capital Brazzaville) or Democratic Republic of Congo (the ex-Belgian Congo, ex-Zaire, capital Kinshasa), but they’re both on my list and I keep reading books about them.
Of course t...
Gentlemen of Bacongo
6 November 2010 | Media
I keep talking about visiting Congo and keep bumping into people with a Congo connection. I nominated the Zaire version (there are two Congo’s ‘Republic’ and ‘Democratic Republic,’ the Zaire one) as the place I really need to go to on the Jennifer Byrne book programme...