Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Shackled Continent

I'm reading an interesting book about African politics and society at the moment.
It's called 'The Shackled Continent: Power, Corruption & African Lives" by Robert Guest, a journalist for the Economist.

I figured it'd be a good primer going forward for my study of African football.
Football, society and politics go hand-in-hand.
For an example of this in Iraq, read this article from the New York Times: Iraq’s Escape Is Soccer, but Soccer Can’t Escape War.

You can't separate the two. Politicians use football clubs to boost their platforms and voting registers (read the wonderful book 'Futebol: Soccer: The Brazilian Way' by Alex Bellos for more about this). Club supporters follow political ideologies, like fascism or social policies, like racism. And football holds up a mirror to society, as France's 1998-World Cup winning team did to French society at that moment.

So as I go forward, I'd like to learn more about Africa and its political workings.
What I'm learning so far is that politicians there, more or less, are very corrupt. They don't hold their constituents' best interests to heart. They're more concerned with filling their bank accounts. A case in point is Mobutu Sese Seko and his exploitation of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) for 32 years. It's harrowing and makes a case for the political follies that now trouble Africa.

I'm by no means an expert. I'm just curious and want to know more about why Africa's where it is and how football ties into that.
If you have any suggestions for what I should read or what I should know, please let me know. I am interested in all opinions and eager to devour this information.

1 comment:

Judy Sigunick said...

Cesar. This is surprisingly interesting stuff for someone like me, whose head is turned towards elephants and the likes. Your writing is impressive and the twists and turns that connect soccer, politics and sex (as in housewives and Beckam) opens the field to include us all. Keep going. I'm reading! And relishing.