The Fate of Africa: Trial by Fire

Jeremy Harding, Author Simon & Schuster $24.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-72359-0
Powerful eyewitness reporting distinguishes much of these accounts of conflict in six countries--four in Southern Africa, plus two unusual independence movements on the continent. Harding, a London-based journalist for the BBC and several publications, is best when capturing human stories, like that of Justino Goncalves, an Angolan hoping for reconstruction despite the confusao (confusion) of Angola's devastating civil war. In Mozambique, mired in an even more bizarre post-colonial civil war, the once-Marxist Frelimo regime, historically hostile to religion, is witnessed embracing a traditional prophet to win support from peasants. In Western Sahara, we see the guerrilla movement called Polisario fighting the huge sand wall built by Morocco's King Hassan to keep them in the desert. In Eritrea, Harding meets the internationally isolated local independence movement, and later has a tense conversation at Moscow's Africa Institute with a defender Ethiopian rule of Eritrea. The immediacy of these reports is not matched in the thin portrait of Namibia, which gained independence from South Africa in 1991, nor in the sketchy and outdated chapter on South Africa. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
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