- Also check our best rated Travel Book reviews
Fishing in Africa: A Guide to War and Corruption (Picador Books) Paperback – 1 Jun 1991
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Top customer reviews
Although one learns a bit about the joys and tribulations of fly-fishing in Africa (e.g. the Akanyaru River, which separates Rwanda from Burundi, was too full of rotting bodies to even bother, while Kenya boasts some near-perfect streams), most of the disturbing revelations relate to more traditional subjects.
Buckoke writes about time spent in Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Liberia, Burundi and Kenya. At least some of these names will be familiar to many in the UK and US. They are, after all, the subject of sporadic media interest. The story, especially as presented on television, tends to follow one pattern - oh no, another African famine - pictures of starving black people - perhaps an appeal from relief agencies, or a charity pop concert - pictures of nice white people providing food and medicine. Problem solved - at least until the next time it happens.
With wit, precision, and ruthlessness, Buckoke strips away any illusions we might have had that this is anything like the real story. He is deeply critical of apathy, laziness and herd mentality on the part of the media (both print and broadcast); he is even more scathing about aid programmes which end up paying off competing military factions, prolonging wars, ignoring the real causes of famine and hardship, and at the same time leaving their employees to enjoy comfortable tax-free salaries. But the criticism doesn't stop there. Environmentalists - at least the sort who prefer animals to people - come in for some choice observations, as do the easier targets of racist white Africans, corrupt and cyncial black Africans, and career diplomats.
Yet 'Fishing in Africa', while packing a considerable polemical punch, is far more than simply a rant against stupidity and ignorance. There is also a great deal here about the beauty of Africa's land and people, as well as its fishing potential. One is left in no doubt that the author remained in Africa as much out of love for the place as fury about all the things which were and are wrong with it.
Buckoke writes well. His vignettes are revealing and memorable without falling into any of the obvious traps of sentimentality or pastiche Graham Greenery. In places he can be very funny, even - perhaps especially - when horror or sadness are just around the corner. While the paper on which the book is printed is terrible and yellows practically as one looks at it, the maps are plentiful and helpful. And Buckoke's conclusions about Africa's future - while sufficiently unconventional to shock some - arise so clearly out of his own experiences, and radiate so much common sense, as to deserve serious thought.
In short, this is a book which may well change the way you think about the media, development economics, the aid community - even Africa and its place in the wider world. It is difficult to think of anyone who would not benefit from reading it. I recommend it highly.
Look for similar items by category