This essay seeks to compare and contrast the approaches taken by Keith B. Richburg and Karl Maier in discussing Africa.The title is "Woes of Africa"

Essay by SAEEDN58College, UndergraduateA, September 2003

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Over the past years, many writers have made bold attempts to address issues confronting Africa. The views expressed by these writers in their books are influenced by the major happenings on the continent within the time period the book is to be written. But one thing that leaves much to be desired about the approaches taken by some of these authors is the generalizations they make about the whole African continent, using the woes of just a few countries as a marker for the others. This paper seeks to compare and contrast the approaches taken by Keith B. Richburg and Karl Maier in discussing Africa.

Richburg's confrontation of Africa in his book, Out of America, discusses his traumatic experiences in Africa. His approach reveals to the reader that the present-day Africa is just a replica of the Dark Continent described by early explorers. Richburg describes Africa as a "senseless continent" (153), "violent" (227), and a "strange and forbidding place" (237) where fighting and other nefarious activities is the order of the day.

He states that:

"It's one of those apocryphal stories you always hear coming out of Africa, meant to demonstrate the savagery of "the natives." Babies being pulled off their mothers' backs and tossed onto spears. Pregnant women being disemboweled. Bodies being tossed into the river and flowing downstream. You heard them all, but never really believed" (xiii).

Richburg thus imposes on the reader the "vicious" nature of Africans. He tries to justify this image he puts forth to his readers by his unrealistic and over-exaggerated descriptions of his encounters and experiences at the hands of civilians, the military, and guerilla fighters.

Richburg does not have any positive thoughts about Africa during his travels from the time he "smells" (1) the continent till his departure. In Richburg's eyes,