Sour, scattershot observations on the evil that white men do in black Africa--on the premise that all would be well if we...

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FANTASTIC INVASION: Notes on Contemporary Africa

Sour, scattershot observations on the evil that white men do in black Africa--on the premise that all would be well if we left it alone. First come four chapters ridiculing the ""colonial game reserves"" of East Africa (which, ostensibly, penalize the native populace without protecting the wildlife) and also mocking a couple of white bush-settlements--where, predictably, the natives are repulsing the invaders. Then come three chapters twitting the decaying colonial towns of West Africa, the post-colonial technicians, even the ""idiotic"" package-tourists. All of these are, of course, familiar objects of satire and/or subjects of exposÉs: what Marnham has to say, for instance, about the maladministration of Sahel famine relief is well known--and his contemptuous generalizations obscure the human plight while only touching upon the root causes. In the third section he takes up, to somewhat more purpose, ""parallels"" between self-serving white colonialism and ineffectual black regimes. Here, however, his reasonable insistence on taking note of tribalism leads him--in defiance of the fears of every African state--to recommend the redrawing of artificial colonial boundary lines. And his remarks on the breakdown of transportation and communication systems--to the benefit, now, of self-protective native governments--serve only, apparently, to feed into his concluding observations on the nullity of all things ""Northern."" Modern medicine becomes the prime example--overridden, as Marnham sees it, by ""the surviving power of African spirituality."" Whatever merit there may be in his charges, they are not substantiated--or even aided--by his angry thrashing-about here.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 1980

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1980