Book Review: Eyes Of Africa

Eyes Of Africa:  In The Eyes Of Africa, by Victorine D. Ngangu

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Books Go Social.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

Although this book was printed in the United States, it appears to be the work of a Congolese author who is unknown to me but who has some trenchant observations about what Africa in general and the Democratic Republic of Congo (hereafter abbreviated as DRC) need to do in order to get their act together as nations.  As someone who is by no means unfamiliar with the problems of Africa [1], even if my own personal experience as an obruni in Ghana for a few weeks on a service project is not as extensive as that of many others, I found much to enjoy and appreciate in this short book.  Of particular importance is the way that the author seeks to mobilize Africans themselves to engage in the hard work of building glorious nations and the way that the author shows herself familiar with natural law and a firm belief in the power of Christianity to aid in this moral and societal renewal.  The book would have come off far less well without the author’s personal experience and her obvious concern for the well-being of her own people.

This book itself is written in both English and French sequentially, so what would already be a short book of under 100 pages is actually two essays of about 40 pages in length, one in English and one in French with identical material.  Since my English is far better than my French, I will focus my comments on the English-language material and note that it appears to be written at a high level both when one looks at language and vocabulary as well as its elevated rhetoric.  After an acknowledgements and beginning section the book contains a few chapters that deal with the wealth of Congo in particular and Africa in general in natural resources and fertile soil (1), and the sorry state of civil/natural rights in various African regimes (2).  After that the author gives a detailed look at what she thinks about African society (3), young Africans (4), and Africa’s future (5) before closing with a discussion about how greater African unity can be fostered for the common good of all Africans (6).  All in all, the essay was quite an excellent one although it appears to be more focused on Africans in general than on outsiders like myself.

What makes this book so worthwhile despite its brevity is the author’s critique of Africa and the statement that Africa’s most profound problems and solutions must come from within Africa and its people and not from being forced upon it from outside or from various autocratic regimes.  Some of the author’s comments include the poor enforcement of safety laws in mining, the collapse of traditional family and community bonds in the face of growing selfishness and greed, the lack of interest in reading among many African youth, and even the custom of students having to bribe their teachers in order to pass their classes.  The endemic corruption African nations face remains a crippling burden that prevents the nations of the continent from appreciating the full rewards of the bountiful natural resources that God has given them.  This book does contain some critical comments about Western approaches to aid and the resulting dependency and passivity on the part of Africans that has resulted from this misguided largess, but for the most part this book is aimed at encouraging Africans, especially younger ones, to be a part of the solution to Africa’s problems rather than a mere symptom of them.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2013/01/02/failure-is-not-an-option-the-forgotten-travails-of-the-central-african-republic/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/02/27/movie-review-black-panther/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/01/13/we-regret-to-inform-you-that-there-is-not-enough-room-on-the-lifeboat/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/05/03/islands-in-the-stream-or-caminemos-pisando-las-sendas-de-nuestra-inmensa-felicidad/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015/01/06/book-review-the-throne-of-adulis/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, International Relations and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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