Book review: Africa Through a Mirror
By Sainey Darboe:
It’s an interesting title for a book written by an author whose magnum opus, ’The Testimony of an African Immigrant: A Promise to my Father’, centered on his personal odyssey from grinding poverty in the dusty streets of The Gambia to being on the payroll of a Fortune 500 company in the U.S.
The title, ‘Africa Through Mirror’, couldn’t be more apt for a man who has seen enough sorrowful days, littered with struggle.
With success comes an inflection point of introspection to look at his life and those of his people in the mirror in order to see it in its raw,unvarnished nature.
Born and raised in The Gambia,Saikou Camara is impelled by the circumstances and fate of the overwhelming majority of the people of the continent of his provenances-Africa-to ask some difficult questions.
Author Saikou Camara
The interrogation is a natural culmination of a keen awareness of the meaninglessness of his personal success unless it impacts the greater majority of the impoverished people on the African continent.The state of Africa which has,in turns, been described as the ‘richest continent’ and ‘scar on the conscience of the world’ deserves to be put under the microscope.
His questions include, but are not limited to the following:
•Why did Europeans enslave Africans in the name of Christianity?
•Why is Africa the poorest continent in the world when it has some of the largest and richest mineral deposits?
•Why do African presidents own private jets when their countrymen are still hungry?
•Why do African people settle their scores with civil wars instead of civil words?
•Why is Mogadishu in Somalia listed as the world’s most dangerous city than anywhere else when more people die in America to gun violence than anywhere else in the world?
With those questions,among others, Saikou Camara takes his readers on 114 pages of a roller coaster ride on Africa’s trials and tribulations which are egregious, scandalous, tragic and funny all at once.
But this is by no means a compendium of Africa’s woes from independence to the present. It also outlines Africa advantages as a virgin market with its youthful population bulge,which offers endless opportunities for the discerning entrepreneur.
Saikou foresees a continent with greater economic integration and “merge our diverse currencies that we can peg against our natural resources in our soils”.
Africa, he concludes, needs her own defined dreams and agenda that all her people can strive to achieve with a single collective purpose.
‘Africa Through a Mirror’ is essential reading for better understanding of Africa’s past, present and future with the accompanying opportunities and threats.