Friday, 11 September 2015

The Rift

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Alex Perry's lyrical exploration of the new Africa came about after a spell in jail, visits to numerous wars and, eventually, his resignation as a news correspondent. But this is no tale of African woe. Taking the Great Rift Valley - the geological fault that will eventually tear Africa in two - as his central metaphor, Perry explores the split between a resurgent Africa and a world at odds with its rise. Africa has long been misunderstood - and abused - by outsiders. Perry travelled the continent for most of a decade, meeting with entrepreneurs and warlords, professors and cocaine smugglers, presidents and jihadis. He uncovers a place that is defiantly rising from centuries of oppression to become an economic and political titan: where cash is becoming a thing of the past, where astronomers are unlocking the origin of life and where, twenty-five years after Live Aid, Ethiopia's first yuppies are traders on an electronic food exchange. But as Africa finally wins the substance of its freedom, it must confront three last false prophets - Islamists, dictators and aid workers - who would keep it in its bonds. Beautifully written, intimately reported, and sure to spark debate, THE RIFT passionately argues that a changing Africa revolutionises our ideas of it, and of ourselves.

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