The Congo: Voyage to the Heart of Darkness

  “Going up that river was like travelling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were king. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of the sunshine.” Heart(…)

Cameroon: an African “Meiji restoration”

  Traditional chiefs, or kings, are an integral part of the political organization of the country. Officially functioning as auxiliaries of the central government, they are often the only face of the authorities which people in the countryside are exposed to. The more influential kings are true figures of authority for their people, more influential(…)

Cameroon: Schizophrenic tropics

  Cameroon is a country of stunning natural beauty, with tropical beaches, lush rainforest, dry savannah and fertile highlands. Home to 256 tribes, each with their own dialect and culture, some highly sophisticated. Host to one of Africa’s last “Big Men”, who has been president since 1982. Colonized by three nations. The Germans were here(…)

Ghana: Accra

  Accra is one of those great chaotic, overwhelming African cities whose defining characteristic seems to be the extreme contrast which exists at every level. The spectacular Mc Mansions of the diplomatic district coexisting with the squatters just across the street who let their goats roam freely onto their well manicured lawns. Fancy restaurants surrounded by(…)

Ghana: Forts of the Gold Coast

  The European powers which established themselves on the Gold Coast from the 15th century projected their power through networks of forts built along the coast. The Portuguese built St George’s Castle at Elmina in 1482, which makes it Africa’s oldest European building. They initially traded gold and ivory with the local kingdoms. They dominated(…)