“A Passage to Africa” by George Alagiah

“A Passage to Africa” by TV foreign correspondent George Alagiah is my most recently finished read. It starts off detailing his own family’s emigration from then-Ceylon to newly independent Ghana when he was 5, and then subsequent chapters detail some of the countries he worked in as a correspondent – including Liberia, Rwanda, Somalia, Uganda, Zaire (now DRC), Zimbabwe, South Africa. He talks about stuff that happened while he was working and reporting and his impressions of the wider history/context – it’s interesting, though of course harrowing too. It was published in 2001 and it was really interesting reading it a decade later with subsequent knowledge about what happened – I think he’s rather too optimistic about Yoweri Museveni in Uganda, for example – and I would love to see him write an updated version giving his take on the last decade. As I was reading it you could tell he was a foreign correspondent, a lot of the phrases were very TV news-friendly I thought, he’s good at distilling complex issues into a short paragraph, although of course in the distillation a lot of important detail is lost, as with any TV news report. Worth a read.

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