Africa: ” Nobody knew what would happen when 300 million people stood up and demanded the right to be heard.”

For those of you who are interested in Ryszard Kapusinski, brilliant Polish journalist, the student of revolutions, here are some more quotes.

The following is from The Soccer War – one of his essays on Ghana:

In those days, the 1960s, the world was very interested in Africa. Africa was a puzzle, a mystery. Nobody knew what would happen when 300 million people stood up and demanded the right to be heard. States began to be established there, and the states bought armaments, and there was speculation in foreign newspapers that Africa might set out to conquer Europe. Today it is impossible to contemplate such a prospect, but that time, it was a concern, an anxiety. It was serious. People wanted to know what was happening on the continent: where was it headed, what were its intentions?

The so-called exotic has never fascinated me, even though I came to spend more than a dozen years in a world that is exotic by definition. I did not write about hunting crocodiles or head-hunters, although I admit they are interesting subjects. I discovered instead a different reality, one that attracted me more than expeditions to the villages of witch doctors or wild animal reserves. A new Africa was being born — and this was not a figure of speech or a platitude from an editorial. The hour of its birth was sometimes dramatic and painful, sometimes enjoyable and jubilant; it was always different (from our point of view) from anything we had known, and it was exactly this difference that struck me as new, as the previously undescribed, as exotic.

I thought the best way to write about this Africa was to write about the man who was its greatest figure, a politician, a visionary, a judge and a sorcerer – Kwame Nkrumah.

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