The Book Show

A literary journey into the troubled history of Congo on The Book Show

Jenny Crwys-Williams takes Redi Tlhabi and her audience on a tumultuous journey into the complicated and troubled history of Congo.

The Congo; two words that can strike fear into anyone’s heart. A country of terror, madness, beauty, richness, genocide, corruption and more.

It’s a country that has been raped and pillaged - literally and figuratively - but does this define the country in its entirety?

Nothing is ever as simple as this.

Is The Congo still “the heart of darkness?” as Joseph Conrad epitomised in his classic novel.

Let’s find out, as we take you on a literary journey of The Congo …

We have to start at the beginning, with Joseph Conrad's _Heart of Darkness, a unique book which addresses the themes of colonialism, expansion and racism._

Paperback : R148.00

Audiobook : R155.00(narrated by Joss Ackland) - one of many versions available.

In the late 1890s, Edmund Dene Morel, a young British shipping company agent, noticed something strange about the cargoes of his company's ships as they arrived from and departed for the Congo, Leopold II's vast new African colony.

Incoming ships were crammed with valuable ivory and rubber. Outbound ships carried little more than soldiers and firearms.

Correctly concluding that only slave labor on a vast scale could account for these cargoes, Morel resigned from his company and almost single-handed made Leopold's slave-labor regime the premier human rights story in the world.

_King Leopold’s Ghost t_ells this remarkable story and the horrors inflicted on the Congolese who were enslaved.


Paperback : R246.00

eBook : R166.00

Michela Wrong's vision of Congo/Zaire during the Mobutu years is incisive, ironic and revelatory. 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 dinner parties are ploughing through vintage wines rather than leave them to the new regime.

Here is a portrait of the grotesque as the confusion takes over.

Jenny Crwys-Williams chatted to Michela about the book, originally published in 2000

The Poisonwood Bible is a novel which tells the story of an American missionary family in the Congo during a poignant chapter in African history.

This book spins the tale of the fierce evangelical Baptist, Nathan Price, who takes his wife and four daughters on a missionary journey into the heart of darkness of the Belgian Congo in 1959.


Paperback : R195.00

eBook : R177.00

Published in 2012, Radio Congo by Ben Rawlence is his story as he sets out to gather the news from a forgotten town deep in Congo's 'silent quarter' where peace is finally being built after two decades of civil war and devastation.

Ignoring the advice of locals, reporters, and mercenaries, he travels by foot, bike, and boat, introducing us to Colonel Ibrahim, a guerrilla turned army officer; Benjamin, the kindly father of the most terrifying Mai Mai warlord; the cousins Mohammed and Mohammed, young tin traders hoping to make their fortune; and talk show host Mama Christine, who dispenses counsel and courage in equal measure.

From the 'blood cheese' of Goma to the decaying city of Manono, Rawlence uncovers the real stories of life during the war and finds hope for the future.


Paperback : R290.00

eBook : R291.00

And so we come to yet another journey through The Congo; who on earth would be mad enough to decide to follow Sir Henry Stanley’s original route through the centre of Africa and The Congo?

Intrepid foreign correspondent Tim Butcher, decided to make this journey and tell the story.

Jenny Crwys-Williams interviews Butcher about his experience on his travels and writing this book.


Paperback : R212.00

eBook : R230.00

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