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In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz

Known as “the Leopard,” the president of Zaire for thirty-two years, Mobutu Sese Seko, showed all the cunning of his namesake — seducing Western powers, buying up the opposition, and dominating his people with a devastating combination of brutality and charm. While the population was pauperized, he plundered the country’s copper and diamond resources, downing pink champagne in his jungle palace like some modern-day reincarnation of Joseph Conrad’s crazed station manager.

Michela Wrong, a correspondent who witnessed Mobutu’s last days, traces the rise and fall of the idealistic young journalist who became the stereotype of an African despot. Engrossing, highly readable, and as funny as it is tragic, In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz assesses the acts of the villains and the heroes in this fascinating story of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

KES1,350.00

Mr Kurtz, the colonial white master, brought evil to the remote upper reaches of the Congo River. A century after Conrad’s Heart of Darkness was first published, Michela Wrong revisits the Congo during the turbulent era of Mobutu Sese Seko. From the heart of Africa comes grotesque confusion: pink-lipsticked rebel soldiers mingle with track-suited secret policemen in hotels where fin de siecle dinner parties are ploughing through vintage wines rather than leave them to the new regime. Congo, the African country richest in natural resources, has institutionalised kleptomania. Everyone is one the take. Someone has even swiped one of the uranium rods from the country’s only nuclear reactor. Having presided over unprecedented looting of the country’s wealth, Mobutu, like Kurtz, retreated deep within the jungle to his palace of marble floors and gold taps. A hundred years on and nothing has changed.
Weight 295 g
Dimensions 135 × 21 × 203 mm
ISBN

9781841154220

Country

Democratic Republic of Congo

Pages

324

Format

Paperback

Language

English

Date

2001

Author

Michela Wrong

Publisher

Fourth Estate,

Harper Collins Publishers

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Editorial Review

‘A stylish account of the absurd as well as the tragic.’ Sunday Times

‘This book will become a classic.’ Economist