Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Seat 34-D Airplane Reading

Traveling between America and South Sudan generally allows for some minutes in a small bookshop in the Entebbe, Uganda airport. Several years ago when the terminal was being upgraded I was delighted about the addition of this literary nook. It has not disappointed me.

Here are a couple of titles purchased that may not be readily available on American bookshelves. It’s likely they can be found online for those who also are avid readers of all things Africa.

Season of Rains – Africa in the World by Stephen Ellis (With a Foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu) ©2011. Personally tired of rhetoric and reports about how dangerous, poor, and illiterate Africans are, I found this a refreshing read. Reading the book’s jacket cover, I knew it would be worth my time to learn about Mr. Ellis’ research:

“Most of what is written about Africa is framed in terms that have been out of date for years. Too often it is seen as heading for either disaster or salvation; the realities are subtler, more complicated than this binary opposition suggests...Africa is better networked and more influential than ever before.”

Africa – The Politics of Suffering and Smiling by Patrick Chabal ©2009. Attracted to the perspective identifying Africa’s progress, this was another selection that captured my attention.

“Instead of raising the issue of why Africa has not developed, we are directed to consider the extraordinary ways in which Africans have adapted to rapidly changing international circumstances…Africa’s situation has evolved massively.”

Africa ELI is a witness to the progress being made in East Africa, especially South Sudan. It’s uplifting to see scholars reporting on research which recognizes the advances made and the power of the people to further develop the continent.

Maybe one of our Africa ELI students will write a book in the future about how she worked to bridge gender gaps and fill the void as an empowered, educated African woman in leadership. That would definitely be a must-read on my booklist.


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