From the ex-Secretary of the Organization of African Unity, a heralding of the continent's political and socioeconomic...



From the ex-Secretary of the Organization of African Unity, a heralding of the continent's political and socioeconomic future as a United States of Africa. Kodjo's call to arms divides into three parts. The first pertains to Africa's ""Yesterday,"" a not-quite-credibly Edenic time when Egypt stood poised at the confluence of both European and African culture and Ethiopia spearheaded her imperial glory--an Africa at once the cradle and the grave of humanity. There's something strident in this insistence upon ""the antecedence of Africa,"" though, a kind of counter-chauvinism more suggestive of an inferiority complex than anything else. The second part reels from past glories to present misery. ""Africa Today""--a paradox of abundance and abjection, ""potentially everything and practically nothing,"" fertile yet fallow, independent but not yet free--this Africa is more in keeping with our own stereotyped media image: the starving child with the bloated belly and sunken, listless eyes, ""a carcass quick with flies."" Transcending these Africas, Kodjo envisions a resurrected Africa of the future. Boasting fully one-fifth of the world's inhabitants and as much of its terrain, ""Africa Tomorrow,"" Kodjo contends, will be at the economic and geographic crossroads of history, the epicenter of the planet, eye of the coming storm. Kodjo, patriotic if not nationalistic, implores emergent Africa to stand united--or else, continuing divided, to fall. A very French book, not least in the extent to which it credits the notion that ""ideas play a cardinal role in the transformation of the world."" Kodjo brings an armature of erudition to bear upon his subject, though his scholarship seems secondhand, his manner reminiscent of the ""village explainer,"" the flavor of the writing like so much leftover lecture material from the Sorbonne, and the Pan-Africanist agitprop and OAU axe-grinding at times almost on the level of pamphleteering. Kodjo's reach exceeds his grasp, but then that's what a prophet's for.

Pub Date: July 24, 1987


Page Count: -

Publisher: Continuum

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1987