This review is from: Ten Weeks in Africa (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The story of `Ten Weeks in Africa' is fiction, and it is both a tense thriller and a romantic novel, but more importantly it is a sad statement on the political, economic and cultural problems that beset many African countries. It catalogues details of bribery, fraud, embezzlement, violence, civil war etc. within the country by interweaving such issues into a compelling and gripping narrative that sets them against well crafted characters as criminals and corrupt politicians, administrators, security forces, police etc. as well as idealists and pragmatists.
Most readers will be unable to gauge the true depths of the endemic internal problems of Africa portrayed skilfully by author J M Shaw with those in power and officials growing rich at the expense of the poor. Shaw's story is dark and disturbing, and even allowing for exaggeration there is clearly an appalling state of affairs that offers little hope. Similarly it is difficult for readers to appreciate to what degree Western aid is mismanaged and ineffectual, or how much aid is channelled to promotion of political objectives rather than physical support for health, housing, education, infrastructure projects etc., and it is particularly shocking to recognize how government and aid agencies manipulate outcomes. It is likely that fictional descriptions are dramatized, but it is distressing to ponder on how close to reality are the evocative descriptions of family ties, tribal allegiances, slums, squalor etc. and the no-win desperate situations faced by so many. `Ten Weeks in Africa' is thought provoking and it will prompt readers to challenge the motives for intervention and the supposed benefits of Western aid.