Thursday, December 2, 2010


The middle-aged white woman sits comfortably on a padded chair. Her short "mom" haircut rests behind her ears which sport expensive looking silver hoops. Her delicate non-calloused hands hold a copy of Chenua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart". Just beyond the pages of her book the waves crash in on a white sand, palm tree lined beach. This is Africa-or is it? Here the comfort of the coast resembles Europe, except with more black people.

The woman, most likely, purchased the book at a comparatively pricey cost in some chain bookstore run by a multi-million dollar company. The book about Africa makes a perfect accompaniment on the trip to Africa. But will she ever see it, know it, feel it? Will she leave he comforts of a beach side tourist culture to go upcountry a few hours and see that people, Africans, are still living in the exact same manner as described in "Things Fall Apart"? Although the book was set in precolonial Africa the cultural details and living conditions are identical to life in The Gambia. Will she go and discover it, or continue sitting in her bikini drinking a beer in front of the ocean reading her book? Tourists come so close yet so far away from real Africa.