Review: Mandela, Mobutu, and Me: A Newswoman's African Journey
By Gail M. Gerhart
September 23, 2003
Council on Foreign Relations
Duke covered southern Africa as Johannesburg bureau chief for The Washington Post from 1995 to 1999. Her engaging memoir provides a close-up look at the fall of Mobutu Sese Seko in the former Zaire, the ascendance of Nelson Mandela in South Africa, dramatic high points of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and many poignant vignettes of everyday African life from Cape Town to Kigali.
"Armed with attitude and ready for anything," she finds that being black and female is sometimes, but not always, an occupational asset. Knowing that her dispatches will help shape American perceptions of a region she cares deeply about, she works hard to balance her anger at the brutality and venality of "ugly Africa" against her admiration for Mandela and for the fortitude and ingenuity of ordinary Africans.
Equally deft at presenting vivid eyewitness descriptions and concise evaluations of failed policies, whether African or American, Duke has given us a glimpse of what first-rate reporting on Africa can be.
Copyright 2003 by the Council on Foreign Relations, Inc. All Rights Reserved.