Africa matters. For one thing, the continent does $24 billion in trade with the United States. But Africa has long suffered from too much of the wrong kind of attention. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge -- Approaching Africa, from King Leopold's greed in the Congo to a new vision for African-American relations.
Sunni Khalid, Director of Communications, and Randall Strickland, Regional Coordinator, of the National Summit on Africa, tell Judith Strasser about the Summit — an effort to increase American understanding of the enormous political, economic and ethnic diversity of the African continent which annually does billions of dollars in trade with the U.S. Also, Jim Fleming reads a selection from Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" -- a vision of Africa which has haunted Western readers for a century.SEGMENT 2:
Adam Hochschild tells Judith Strasser that Conrad's novel was also an excellent piece of reportage. The Congo was run as a private colony by King Leopold of Belgium who was willing to kill an unlimited number of Africans to harvest and export the Congo's rubber. Hochschild tells the terrible and tragic story in his book "King Leopold's Ghost." Also, Judith Strasser reads a passage from Barbara Kingsolver's novel about Africa, "The Poisonwood Bible." And, James Scott tells Steve Paulson about the doomed efforts of the Tanzanian government to impose on a nomadic population a social and agricultural infrastructure compatible with traditional Western development strategies.SEGMENT 3:
Judith Strasser reads another excerpt from Barbara Kingsolver's "The Poisonwood Bible." Also, documentary film maker Manthia Diawara, who grew up in Guinea during the independence movement of the late 1950s, tells Jim Fleming about his return to Guinea thirty years later in search of a childhood friend. Diawara tells the whole story in his book "In Search of Africa."Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 98-11-22-A.
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