Heart of Darkness

May 20, 2021


How is Africa doing? Can Africa produce the food, energy, economic activity, education, and social and political stability that all those people, especially all those young people, need and deserve? And is democracy the best means to that end?

Michela Wrong has spent nearly three decades writing about Africa, first as a Reuters correspondent based in Cote d’Ivoire and former Zaire, and then as the Financial Times Africa correspondent, based in Kenya. From journalism, she moved into book-writing. Previous books include “In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz”, the story of Mobutu Sese Seko, “I Didn’t do it for You”, focusing on Eritrea, “It’s Our Turn to Eat”, an examination of Kenyan corruption, and “Borderlines”, a novel set in the Horn of Africa. Her latest book, “Do Not Disturb”, is a scathing assessment of the Rwandan Patriotic Front and President Paul Kagame.

“…the longer I spend working on Africa and traveling around in Africa, the more it is born upon me that the nation-state is a fragile and recent arrival in Africa and that ethnic identity holds the key to everything. And that our problem as Western countries, we often confront Africa, assuming that the countries we’re dealing with and the governments we’re dealing with have been around as long as our own countries and governments have been.”
— Michela Wrong


Africa is growing or, to be precise, Africa is growing more Africans. Projections show that by 2050 Africa’s population is likely to double. By 2100 one in three people on Earth will be African, including almost half of global youth. But can Africa produce the food, energy, economic activity, education, and social and political stability that all those people, especially all those young people, need and deserve? And is democracy the best means to that end?

How is Africa doing? In one sense, that’s a nonsensical question to ask about 55 countries and almost 1.4 billion people, but even dumb questions can sometimes have smart answers.

In this week’s New Thinking for a New World podcast episode, Michela Wrong who has spent nearly three decades writing about Africa, as a journalist and as an author, talks about the people, the politics, and the day-to-day realities. Her latest book, Do Not Disturb, takes a deep dive into President Paul Kagame’s Rwanda which can be read as a window into Africa’s present and its possible future.

Let us know what YOU think and comment on the podcast below.

Listen to the episode here or find us on a podcast platform of your choice, (Apple podcast, Spotify, Acast, Stitcher, Libsyn, YouTube, etc).


  1. Hans Hofkamp

    The way democracy is operationalized is one of the issues in Africa but their are others like education. But the main issue I see is the way the western world does support Africa. In the last decades Asia has grown as all manufacturing forces has moved their. Maybe we shall support Africa in that way and help them grow

  2. Nkosinathi Mfazwe

    Africa need a good leadership role, Africa still in position of poor, author we need to write about about Africa

  3. Nicolay Christov

    -Thanks, Ms.Wrong ! (But is it possible TALLBERG F. to give us the written text, not only the podcast ? Sometimes is so boring to listen at long speeches…:) )

  4. Udo Victor

    Africa is in dare need of courageous speakers who will stand to speak out against the many injustices done in Africa and by Africa

  5. John

    I can’t listen to the pod cast as I don’t want to get into it, it’s like nails on a chalk board for my ears. However as a westerner growing up in Africa, South Africa. The education system works fine, the health care system is not so great, it’s overpriced, and I have been injured multiple times, internally and to some degree externally. The lower class and all the majority of people are poor. There’s not much public space and private space allowances, like there’s always African people or workers in my private space, especially in offices, restaurants or at the beach mostly in minimum wage positions. There’s always people in my space. There’s not enough public investment in infrastructure that mobilizes the circular flow of money. I cannot comfortably get into relationships with same demographic opposite gender person. It doesn’t feel safe to travel anywhere in a group without security which is also African. There’s no Eurocentric offices anywhere. Most of the older generation people look obese. It’s hard to get a job that has decent paying work and then when I get it I don’t want to interact with the human resource function. Also there’s lots of rioting and unions and I don’t like reading all the Zulu African names in the news. I also been in home affairs and I think I need a hazmat suit to feel safe, the question are terrible. Nothing has been set up to avoid waiting in question with dirty poor people, also a lot of the city since the regime change is not nicely, upgraded, renovated and maintained. I’m now claustrophobic about interacting with staff at petrol stations, grocers, car guards. I just want to leave and so I am planning to leave. There’s a lot of complaint about things that don’t work and there’s been lots of issues. Also the employment compliance policies are discouraging me from wanting to open any sort of business because of the giant leech that arrives with the company. Also the grant system is not so great. However I have noticed that a lot of the interaction functions have gone online to some extent which is a positive. Also the delivery drivers are also having to interact which is also not thinking avoidable. Some of my subconscious thoughts have been violated by people and naming conventions and public constructs. However it’s not the end of the world and I’m sure the sum of the many exceeds the faults of a few and everything will right itself overtime. Also the drivers Licence issuance places also have huge ques and a separate online booking system would work wonders where I don’t have to manually que. Theres also boat loads of Indian Africans of which I don’t know where everyone works, I have assumptions. However there is racial segregation by areas. However I have not scene any rural township redevelopment plans in any of the news. It’s mostly food exchanges and electric advertisements.


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