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18 Segments




Thomas Pakenham Discusses "The Scramble for Africa."

Until the mid 1870s, most of Africa remained untouched by slave traders and explorers. And then, in a little over three decades of conquest, Western European countries carved up and colonized all of Africa. Thomas Pakenham ("packin-em") has written "The Scramble for Africa" (Random House), a comprehensive account of this period where the white man invaded the Dark Continent.


Beauty is Its Own Reward.

Milo Miles, world music commentator, reviews "Boto," a debut album by Lokua Kanza on the French label Night and Day.


A Look at the New Soukous Boom

World music critic Milo Miles talks about Soukous music -- a popular style of guitar music from Zaire. He reviews four recently released albums.


Containing the Ebola Virus

Journalist Laurie Garrett has recently returned from Zaire, where many people have died due to the spread of the Ebola virus. She is the author of the new book, The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance. She talks about how people in Zaire changed their behaviors in order to curtail the spread of the Ebola virus.


Zaire's Legacy Under Belgium and Mobutu

Journalist Sean Kelly's 1993 book, "America's Tyrant: The CIA and Mobutu of Zaire" provides context for the unrest now in Zaire. Thirty years ago, Kelly covered Mobutu's rise to power. Kelly was with the Voice of America for twenty years. Now he teaches at American University in D.C.


What Conrad Can Tell Us About the Contemporary Congo

Journalist Adam Hochschild's recent article in the New Yorker "Mr. Kurtz, I Presume" considers the colonial history of Zaire -- once known as the Congo -- looking for the prototype for Kurtz the fictional greedy ambitious white man of Joseph Conrad's novel "Heart of Darkness."


The "Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism" in the Congo's Colonial History

Journalist Adam Hochschild is the author of "King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa" (Houghton Mifflin) about the brutal reign of King Leopold II of Belgium over the Congo in the 1880s. His regime sparked the creation of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness." Leopold plundered the Congo's rubber, instituted forced labor, and reduced the population by half, committing mass murder. All the while, Leopold cultivated a reputation as a humanitarian.


The Cultures and Politics that Unite and Divide Africans and African-Americans.

Writer Philippe Wamba ("Phil-EEP WAM-bah"). He is the son of an African father and a African-American mother. His new book looks at the affinity between African-Americans and Africans, the things that divide them, and they myths they each hold about the other. It's called "Kinship: A Family's Journey in Africa and America" (Dutton). Wamba has lived in both countries. His father, Prof. Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, is currently leader of the rebel faction in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Journalist Michela Wrong

Journalist Michela Wrong is the author of the new book In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu's Congo. The book examines the 1960 CIA plot to murder Patrice Lumumba who was then leader of newly independent Congo. The plot led to Lumumba's removal from power and the ascension of Mobutu Sese Seko. Wrong is a staff reporter with The Financial Times.


'Chief of Station' Recalls Congo During Cold War

Retired CIA field officer Larry Devlin was appointed CIA station chief in Zaire in the Congo in 1960, following the Congo's independence from Belgium. It was also a time when the Congo was a significant pawn in the Cold War.

Devlin has written a memoir about his experiences, Chief of Station, Congo: Fighting the Cold War in a Hot Zone.


Franco: Africa's First Modern Pop Superstar.

Congolese guitarist Franco is not well-known in America, despite being one of Africa's greatest pop artists. That might change, now that the the African guitarist and band leader's tracks have been released on two albums, Francophonic Vol. 1 and 2.


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