From 1991 to 1994, Keith Richburg was based in Nairobi as the Africa bureau chief for the Washington Post
. He traveled throughout Africa, from Rwanda to Zaire, witnessing and reporting on wars, famines, mass murders, and the complexity and corruption of African politics. Unlike many black Americans who romanticize Africa, Richburg looks back on his time there and concludes that he is simply an American, not an African American. This is a powerful, hard-hitting book, filled with anguished soul-searching as Richburg makes his way toward that uncomfortable conclusion.
Nothing in Keith Richburg’s long and respected journalistic career at the Washington Post
prepared him for what he would encounter as the paper’s correspondent in Africa. He found a continent where brutal murder had become routine, where dictators and warlords silenced dissent with machine guns and machetes, and where starvation had become depressingly common. With a great deal of personal anguish, Richburg faced a difficult question: If this is Africa, what does it mean to be an African American?
In this provocative and unvarnished account of his three years on the continent of his ancestors, Richburg takes us on a extraordinary journey that sweeps from Somalia to South Africa, showing how he confronted the divide between his African racial heritage and his American cultural identity.