the most horrifying chapter in European colonization
April 28, 2015 3:59 PM   Subscribe

Dancing with Cannibals is an historical novel available as an ebook. From the Mefi Projects description page: "Never before has there been a novel about the genocide in the Congo Free State written in English by an African writer. Dancing with Cannibals would seem to have been influenced by Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (which is also set in the Congo during the Belgian regime) and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, but Dicho Ilunga has not read either of those books. Ilunga’s writing is largely absent a European context. Ilunga describes his literary training as coming from the Zairian writers that he read in school and from two novels by Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho who Ilunga says has an African style."

"Dicho Ilunga is the author of several accomplished, unpublished novels. Born in Zaire, Dicho Ilunga fled to Rwanda as a political refugee only to become embroiled in the Rwandan genocide through his marriage to a Tutsi woman. Dicho Ilunga now lives in South Africa, where again he is a political refugee."

"Dancing is split into 3 ebooks and each can be read on the Kindle Cloud Reader (in-browser) or Kindle apps on many devices. Free previews are available."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (11 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
I started out ready to make a joke about how, aww, it isn't Hannibal.

By the end of the post, I was intrigued. (People who have seen how grar I get about European colonialism and its lingering effects will be totally unsurprised.) But with that price point on the ebook, I am crazy excited. This is exactly the sort of thing I like seeing of ebook publishing--stuff I'm not likely to just find at the public library, at a price point where I can indulge without thinking more about it than "shit where did I put my Kindle and does it still turn on".
posted by Sequence at 5:03 PM on April 28, 2015


joseph conrad is fully awesome: "Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho who Ilunga says has an African style"

For the sake of African literature, I hope not.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 5:05 PM on April 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


I am definitely going to check this out. I made it a goal for my reading year to eschew the voices I already know. I am actively seeking authors from minority communities and indigenous peoples.
Thanks.
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:17 PM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


For the sake of African literature, I hope not.

If any African writer can match Coelho's sales, I doubt they will be disappointed.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:18 PM on April 28, 2015


If you want to read these with some added context, I recommend King Leopold's Ghost. For good context on modern Congo, Dancing in the Shadow of Monsters is excellent.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:07 PM on April 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


If you want to read these with some added context, I recommend King Leopold's Ghost. For good context on modern Congo, Dancing in the Shadow of Monsters is excellent.

Yes! Both of these are great (though obviously not cheerful reading).
posted by Dip Flash at 6:18 PM on April 28, 2015


King Leopold's Ghost, especially, is essential reading for anyone interested in the origins of the modern world.
posted by clockzero at 8:22 PM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


"King Leopold's Ghost, especially, is essential reading for anyone interested in the origins of the modern world."

or for anyone interested in finding themselves disgusted at how terribly humans can treat other humans.

but that thing you said, yes, that also.
posted by komara at 8:27 PM on April 28, 2015


for anyone interested in finding themselves disgusted at how terribly humans can treat other humans.

The terrifying thing about human history is that we don't even know how many genocides there were. We never will.

There were at least two other members of the Homo genus when sapiens sapiens became recognizable as our own species. If they were alive today, they would qualify for citizenship and equal rights under most western legal regimes. They would look not at all out of place on a city bus.

Where did they go? They didn't build a rocket and move to Mars, that's for sure.
posted by clarknova at 11:35 PM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Where did they go? They didn't build a rocket and move to Mars, that's for sure.

Well... let's not get carried away here. There's not really any reason (or evidence) to think it was large-scale murder that drove out the Neanderthals, floresiensis, etc. Being driven to extinction by environmental pressures and overspecialization is not the same thing as being victims of genocide. These were very specialized species in fragile ecosystems, and the most likely reason for their decline was the same as that of their ancestors: because there arose ecological pressures they couldn't adapt to. And that's still the case even if the tipping point was the introduction of more adaptable animals like Homo sapiens in Europe and elsewhere.

None of this is to say humans are always angelic and peaceful, but I'd worry that overstating our awfulness as a species can only undermine the true magnitude of what people like Leopold are responsible for.
posted by teponaztli at 1:15 AM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Cannibals. Not cannabis. I need an eye checkup.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:58 AM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


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