Friday, February 12, 2010

African Lent

Here’s an idea for Lent that will do more good than giving up desserts: Read a book about contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. It's not a penance, though it can hurt. And seeing how much of the rest of the world lives sure does put a lot of my minor irritations and even major problems in perspective.

Consider a novel or memoir by an African, such as
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun (Nigeria)
Athol Fugard, Tsotsi (South Africa)
Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone (Sierra Leone)
Peter Godwin, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun (Zimbabwe)

Or read a journalist's first-person account, like
Dave Eggers, What Is the What (Sudan)
Tracy Kidder, Strength in What Remains (Burundi)
Ryszard Kapuściński, The Shadow of the Sun (post-colonial Africa)
Philip Gourevitch, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families (Rwanda)

If you'd rather watch a movie, try one of these:
The Devil Came On Horseback (Sudan)
Tsotsi (South Africa)
War Dance (Uganda)
Hotel Rwanda (Rwanda)

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