'Only with the greatest of simplifications, for the sake of convenience, can we say Africa. In reality, except as a geographical term, Africa doesn't exist'. Ryszard Kapuscinski has been writing about the people of Africa throughout his career. In a study that avoids the official routes, palaces and big politics, he sets out to create an account of post-colonial Africa seen at once as a whole and as a location that wholly defies generalised explanations. It is both a sustained meditation on the mosaic of peoples and practises we call 'Africa', and an impassioned attempt to come to terms with humanity itself as it struggles to escape from foreign domination, from the intoxications of freedom, from war and from politics as theft.
Ryszard Kapuscinski was born in Poland in 1932. As a foreign correspondent for PAP, the Polish news agency, until 1981 he was an eyewitness to revolutions and civil wars in Africa, Asia and Latin America. His books include The Shadow of the Sun, The Emperor, Shah of Shahs, Another Day of Life and Travels with Herodotus. He won dozens of major literary prizes all over the world, and was made 'journalist of the century' in Poland. He died in January 2007.