Ryszard Kapuscinski, the best reporter in Africa

Ryszard Kapuscinski, the best reporter in Africa
Isabel del Rio
Ryszard Kapuscinski in Africa

Ryszard Kapuscinski in Africa

In 1957, Kapuscinski went to Africa for a first time. Some countries at the South of the Sahara desert wanted their independence. Kapuscinski, a Poland journalist, was 25 years old, and he landed in Ghana. From then on, he was travelling in Africa in really bad and dangerous conditions: revolutions and coups d’état, nationalist conflicts and wars of independence. He wrote and wrote and also took photos of this forgotten continent, which still continues with the same problems.

In January 2007, Kapuscinski died after a heart surgery, but his name is daily shown as an example of good journalism and he is a constant reference to understand the conflicts in Africa, but also in Asia and Europe. His books have been republished constantly and translated into 40 languages, and his photos exhibited and now, published in a book “Africa in the Eyes” by the Association of European journalists.

75 selected photos which are not looking for beauty or misery, happiness or pain. They reflect Kapuscinski’s relaxing point of view, the point of view of a curious person. Because “Africa in the eyes” is not a book of terrible images of a damn continent but a book of dignity where people are what they are telling about themselves, and through their looks, we know their stories: children, old patriarchs, mothers working, busy markets, prostitutes and warriors, also smiling child soldiers.

Ryszard Kapuscinski in Africa

Ryszard Kapuscinski in Africa

“Africa in the Eyes” is a parallel book to “The Shadow of the Sun”, his most famous essay and one of the most important documents about African during the second half of the 20th century. He is not describing the misery of a continent but his admiration by the soul of African people and their great different culture.

Other important Kapuscinski books:

“The Empire”

In the 90’s the reporter is in Europe travelling in the ruins of the Soviet Union. He wanted to know why the USSR has fallen and how can be stopped its destruction which is the destruction of millions of people.

“The Emperor”

It could be a funny book if it were fiction. The problem is that is a true story.

Here, the reporter describes the stupid manias and fads of the insane man who ruled Ethiopia during decades: Haile Selassie.

Ryszard Kapuscinski in Africa

Ryszard Kapuscinski in Africa

“The Soccer War”

It’s not a book about sports. It’s a book about the war between Salvador and Honduras.

Ryszard Kapuscinski, the reporter.

Other partners or biographers have said he was a liar and a womanizer, and even a communist spy but, what is truth, it’s he was in all of the worst conflicts of the second half of the 20th century, visiting over a hundred countries and writing with a peculiar style: calm, realistic, fresh, well-explained and above all, with great respect by the mankind and the protagonist of the History: us.

Ryszard Kapuscinski in Africa

Ryszard Kapuscinski in Africa

Little bio:

Kapuscinski was born into a poor family in Pinsk, now in Belarus, in 1932. He used to claim he felt at home in Africa as “food was scarce there too and everyone was also barefoot.”

In 2007, in an interview for Reuters Alicja Kapuscinska affirmed her husband was not a spy, but that contracts with the communist authorities were the “price he had to pay” for travelling under communism, which was fallen in Poland in 1989.

Artur Domoslawski’s wrote a biography about Poland’s most renowned correspondent “Kapuscinski Non-fiction” where he accused him of spy, same have done some Catholic authorities from Poland, including Archbishop Jozef Zycinski.

Always lights and shadows.

Kapuscinski exhibition: Library Narodowa

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