Ryszard Kapuscinski arrived in Africa in 1957, at the beginning of the end of colonial rule––the “sometimes dramatic and painful, sometimes enjoyable and jubilant” rebirth of a continent. The Shadow of the Sun sums up the author’s experiences (“the record of a forty-year marriage”) in this place that became the central obsession of his remarkable career.
From the hopeful years of independence through the bloodcurdling disintegration of nations such as Nigeria, Liberia, Rwanda, and Angola, Kapuscinski recounts great social and political changes as seen through the prism of the ordinary African. He looks at the rough-and-ready physical world and identifies the true geography of Africa––a little-understood spiritual universe, an African way of being. And he offers a moving portrait of Africa in the wake of two epoch-making changes: the arrival of AIDS and the definitive departure of the white man.
Kapuscinski’s rare humanity invests his subject with a dignity and grandeur unmatched by any other writer on the Third World, and his unique ability to discern the universal in the particular has never been more powerfully displayed than in this work. The Shadow of the Sun is a masterpiece from a modern master.