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From the Hardcover edition.
The images are familiar: the doped and deadly child soldiers; the pervasive corruption, brought to its worst heights by Mobutu; an entire continent rampant with AIDS. But Duke tells the story with vigor, and her chronicling of South Africa’s struggle for political and economic balance, its attempt to find some harmony between the African National Congress’s ideals and globalism’s reality, is a neat and idiosyncratic summation of the decade’s buffeting of that nation. She provides just enough of the surreal encounters (like the "weird Kabuki" of someone obliquely requesting a bribe) waiting in a land strange for those reared in the US, as South Africa, Angola, and the Congo certainly are, even to that rare creature, an African-American, female foreign correspondent. Duke wears her feelings on her sleeve, and they can be as conflicted as the land she is reporting on: she bemoans the absence of Western intervention in Rwanda or Zaire yet knows that such intervention never comes without strings, and she never forgets that "my people, African people, were suffering again. And [that] my people, African people, were the cause." While she may inflate the effect her articles will have on readers (they’ll "rub people’s faces" in Africa’s travails, she says, while people really need only turn the page for her to vanish entirely), she does provide a glimpse into the shortcomings of today’s foreign correspondents whose "mission wasn’t to put down roots." One may fairly ask how reporters can truly come to know a place when they relyon intermediaries and retreat each evening to the Intercontinental Hotel.
Despite the relative shortness of her stint, Duke discerns some of both the truthful kernels and sweeping ramifications--economic, political, social, cultural--of what independence has brought to parts of southern Africa.
From the Hardcover edition.
Posted October 13, 2010
I have greatly enjoyed reading Mandela, Mobutu, and Me. It is a history of Africa in the 1990's, with all the social changes. I have a greater appreciation for the land and it's people. Lynne Duke is a great writer, and I hope to she writes other works in the future.
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Posted February 3, 2004
This masterpiece moved me in a profound way. The only thing lacking in this book is maps, which I understand will be included in the paperback version later this year. I admire Ms. Duke's courage and compassion. Her skilled writing makes for an absorbing read that will stay with you long after the book is finished. Oh, Africa, with it's many complexities.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 27, 2003
Excellent! Lynn Duke writes a vivid account of the horrors and hopes that prevailed in Central and Southern Africa in the 1990's. She is insightful, funny and warm. This book should be read by everyone interested in American foreign policy, African history and development agencies working in Africa.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 13, 2003
I enjoyed this book on several levels; the history of the countries Ms. Duke writes about, the analysis of the politcal and social aspects of their transformations, and her own personal perspective as an African American woman and professional journalist. The book covers the good, the bad and the ugly that these nations have had to endure. An excellent eye-opener for anyone that has not paid much attention to the politics of the African continent.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 18, 2003
I've been there and I have family evacuated from Zaire. I've received first hand accounts of the brutality in Rowanda and Congo. This book fleshed it all out with details of the wider scene and historical perspective. It will open your eyes to Internationao intrigue, both political and economic. Beautifully written.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.