Returning from a Month in Africa

Christ ChurchChrist Church and Reiterdenkmal in Windhoek, Namibia

Observations by a Toronto tourist who has just returned from an enjoyable tour of Central and South Africa (he did not visit North Africa, or any war zone):

1. The Chinese are everywhere, conspicuously. They do not employ local labour. For road-building and other major projects they bring their own workers. They have no interest in Africans. Their purpose is solely to extract whatever they need. They are heartily disliked.

2. Corruption on a colossal scale by dictators in power, and their friends, is highly visible.

3. The infrastructure, inherited from colonial powers or built since independence, is now breaking down. South Africa, too, has grave problems. There is a serious electricity gap.

4. Hotels are in good shape. There are many Chinese and German tourists, few Americans, Canadians or Japanese.

5. Namibia, from 1884–1915 German Southwest Africa, retains a strong German flavour and is a popular destination for German tourists.

6. Wildlife, including frogs, is spectacular.

7. There is overwhelming poverty.


One response to “Returning from a Month in Africa

  1. Michael Gundy

    Unfortunately, Tom Burgis’ well written book, “The Looting Machine: Warlords, Tycoons, Smugglers and the Systematic Theft of Africa’s Wealth” reflects your observations exactly. A very imperfect storm involving a klepto-class, lack of accountability to the people, tribalism and Chinese and corporate colonialism. Very sad.