Bob Geldof first visited Africa in 1984. The following
year, Live Aid inspired a generation to raise millions for
the starving in Africa. Over 20 years on, passion undiminished,
Geldof returns to what he calls the "Luminous Continent".
This is his personal diary, read in his own words. Unflinchingly
honest, provocative, informative, poignant and funny, Geldof
in Africa paints a unique picture of this stunningly beautiful
in Africa sees
Bob Geldof offering a surprising honest account of his time
in Africa. Starting with his first glimpses of naked African
women, in school text books, to the completion of the Commission
for Africa project and the second Live Aid concert on 02 July
2005, this collection represents one man's experiences stripped
have to admit to being a little apprehensive about reviewing
this collection. I didn't see the TV series and the thought
of Geldof droning on and on over eight CDs was really not
that appealing to me. And, to be honest, as I started listening
to the first CD all of my fears were realised. Geldof's voice
is a cure for insomniacs. But, as the stories unfolded, I
realised that I had badly misjudged the man - and I hang my
head in shame. He is brutally honest in his retelling of stories.
He admits to not wanting to eat the food that some of the
people he met offered him - even though they were offering
him food that would have lasted them longer if they'd shared
it amongst themselves. Or, there's the tale where he moans
about his awful hotel room - blatantly aware that there are
millions in Africa that would think his surroundings were
like a palace in comparison to how they lived.
doesn't patronise the listener. He speaks how he finds. Can
you honestly say that if you were in his shoes that you would
have reacted differently? It takes a certain type of celebrity
to admit, without looking like a git, that he was bored of
watching tribal dances and what passed for the local entertainment.
also talks about being out of place in Africa. He admits to
dressing stupidly because he would have looked more ridiculous
if he had attempted to fit in by wearing what the locals did.
He states that he really did want to get to know them, but
he obviously couldn't merge in with them as he stuck out like
a sore thumb.
collection starts as
Geldof arrives in Africa and explains why he is there. Then
he goes back to his childhood and the little black baby box
(charity box) which was his first real contact with Africa.
Is it possible that Geldof's teenage sexual fantasies, thanks
to National Geographic, were responsible for his first real
interest in Africa? That his work to help the starving millions
was born out of his original desire to go there and see the
beautiful naked women he'd seen in various educational magazines?
Again, this honest revelation is impressive.
and drugs and rock and roll seem to be far back in Geldof's
past as he tells us about the drug that seems so prevalent
in Africa. Methcathinone (or CAT as it is more commonly known)
is a derivative of a naturally occurring stimulant drug, cathinone,
which is found in the khat plant. It acts on the body much
like methamphetamine. It is a stimulant and in Africa users
get their fix by chewing the leaves of the khat plant to produce
stimulant effects. And, as bad for you as it is, Geldof reveals
that it's not illegal in the UK and that shipments are regularly
flown into the UK for families of African origin.
are priceless stories, like his meeting with Yasser Arafat
who spent ages trying to convince Geldof that his (Arafat's)
hat was shaped like Palestine. And then there is the fact
that everywhere he went everyone knew about British football.
In fact it was quite worrying to learn that the three most
recognisable foreign imports to Africa that are known wherever
you go are the
BBC World Service, Coca Cola and David Beckham - and not necessarily
in that order. Beckham is probably the most well known icon
in Africa. They all know about football and even when Geldof
tries to flummox the locals by telling them he is from Ireland,
they proudly mention an Irish football player.
highlights include Geldof (not known for his smart appearance)
describing a militia guard as scruffy; His story about a leader
who had to race in to battle in a wheelbarrow
because he had no legs; His attempt to cross a border that
didn't even look like a border; Villagers
singing "Bob Geldof" and learning that Geldof means
something very different in their language - Gel=Camel Dof=looter.
"Welcome Bob Geldof camel looter"; And a look at
how their medical knowledge is much greater than you'd think
- he tells the story of a doctor
who scooped up a girls brain whose head had been caved in
in a car accident. Incidentally the girl was recovering at
the time Geldof heard this story.
we go back to the origins of man in Africa and Geldof takes
us through the slave trade and all manner of other twisted
things man has done to his fellow man. We examine how American
wealth was born on the back of African slave labour, child
witches and the armies that forced children to kill each other.
And that today
70% of African intellectuals live outside of Africa.
interesting insight into one man's experiences in one of the
most beautiful continent on the planet, and a quick history
lesson into the bargain. Well worth getting hold of a copy.
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