To Timbuktu for a Haircut: A Journey through West Africa

By Rick Antonson

Timbuktu: the African urban identified to legend as a land of students, elegance and secret, a golden age within the Sahara wilderness. yet to many it's a vaguely recognizable identify – a flippant tag for “the so much distant position on earth.” With this fabled urban as his target, writer Rick Antonson all started a month-long trek. His preliminary plan? To get a haircut.

Aided by way of an adventuresome spirit, Rick endures a forty-five hour teach trip, a swindling shuttle agent, “Third international, three-lane” roads, rivers, and a flat deck ferry boat prior to eventually achieving Timbuktu. Rick narrates the background of this elusive vacation spot throughout the teachings of his Malian consultant Zak, and encounters with stranded travelers, a camel proprietor, a riverboat captain, and the folks who name Timbuktu home.

Antonson’s eloquence and quiet wit spotlight the city’s myths—the centuries previous capital and traveler’s dream—as good as its realities: A urban gripped through poverty, the place ancient treasures lie as regards to the sands of destruction. certainly, a few 700,000 old manuscripts stay there, endangered. either a travelogue and a heritage of a spot lengthy forgotten, To Timbuktu for a Haircut emerges as a plea to maintain the earlier and open cultural dialogues on a world scale.

The moment variation of this crucial ebook outlines the unstable political events in Timbuktu following the spring 2012 army coup in Mali and the next seize of the town by means of Islamic extremists. actually, it's a race opposed to time to save lots of the city’s irreplaceable artifacts, mosques, and monuments, and to appreciate why Timbuktu’s previous is vital to the way forward for Africa.

Show description

Preview of To Timbuktu for a Haircut: A Journey through West Africa PDF

Best Africa books

Desert God: A Novel of Ancient Egypt

Online game of Thrones meets historic Egypt during this awesome epic from one of many world’s biggest-selling authors—a novel that conjures the magic, secret, romance, and bloody intrigue of a desirable misplaced international . . . at the glowing banks of the Nile, the intense Taita—slave and consultant to the Pharaoh—finds himself on the middle of a vortex of ardour, intrigue, and probability.

Gods and Soldiers: The Penguin Anthology of Contemporary African Writing

A unique assortment showcasing the power of recent African literatureComing at a time whilst Africa and African writers are in the middle of a outstanding renaissance, Gods and squaddies captures the energy and urgency of African writing at the present time. With tales from northern Arabic-speaking to southern Zulu-speaking writers, this assortment conveys thirty alternative ways of drawing close what it potential to be African.

Sudan, South Sudan, and Darfur: What Everyone Needs to Know®

For thirty years Sudan has been a rustic in problem, wracked by way of near-constant battle among the north and the south. yet on July nine, 2011, South Sudan grew to become an self sustaining country. As Sudan once more unearths itself the focal point of overseas consciousness, former certain envoy to Sudan and director of USAID Andrew Natsios offers a well timed advent to the rustic at this pivotal second in its background.

Defeating Dictators: Fighting Tyranny in Africa and Around the World

The new turmoil in North Africa and the center East disproves the concept dictatorships are appropriate to the folk of those international locations. From the rebellion in Tunisia to the overthrow of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and uprising around the area, the tide is popping opposed to oppressive regimes. during this well timed and pressing narrative, White residence consultant on Africa George Ayittey takes a troublesome examine the struggle opposed to dictatorships around the globe, from jap Europe within the 20th century to the current turmoil within the center East.

Extra resources for To Timbuktu for a Haircut: A Journey through West Africa

Show sample text content

Scouts again, confirming the sufferer following via those nomads. Dianous, his fellow Frenchmen, and the Algerians have been good armed and assured that their ammunition offers may chase away the Tuareg. yet inside of weeks of embarking northward, they have been with no foodstuff. They have been ravenous and chewing the leather-based straps and beltings in their baggage. It used to be then that the Tuareg, in a gesture of wasteland hospitality, gave the remnants of the once-powerful French strength a present of dates. quickly the boys writhed in anguish. Many went mad, and a few bumped into the barren region. The dates have been poisoned. Disoriented and distressed, the surviving squaddies broke their subsequent night’s camp earlier than sunrise and commenced to march towards a massive good in the day’s achieve. An hour after stepping into the horizon, the wilderness solar rose, the sand’s floor glimmered, and a powerful line of Tuareg, fastened on their camels, waited. The Tuareg hovered during this threatening place for a very long time, till advancing all of sudden. Charging into the volley of French musket balls, they suffered heavy casualties. It was once now not their anticipated victory. however the Tuareg’s retaliation to the French rebuff used to be rapid and awful. They slew these prisoners they’d held alive from the Flatters incident. surprised and demoralized, the Frenchmen watched the killings simply out of musket diversity. Then, from a Tuareg sniper, a bullet pierced the wasteland air, notable Dianous. He fell. An anguished sergeant assumed accountability and led a switchback direction for the near-dead, who remained less than his command. it's acknowledged that he shook the Tuareg on the fringe of their lands. these infantrymen who may possibly stroll, stumbled north. In desperation, they killed after which ate their weaker comrades. while the brain-addled sergeant himself may well slightly stroll, he, too, was once killed and eaten by way of these he’d led. 4 months once they had left to discover an appropriate path for the Transsaharian Railway to attach eu markets with the gold-rich alternate towns of the River Niger, tattered lines of the tirailleurs stumbled on their manner right into a north Saharan village. France’s desires of a railway evaporated with the stories of those half-mad survivors. within the early 1900s, France confronted the problem of mollifying the renegade Tuat tribes less than Moroccan declare. If it was once to successfully impression the Sahara, its army operations required a method of standard provide. “Paradoxically, the Transsaharian couldn't be equipped until eventually the Tuat was once firmly below French regulate, and the Tuat couldn't be managed till the Transsaharian was once in place,” writes Fergus Fleming within the Sword and the move. may still France construct a railway? It didn't, and never until eventually 1965 used to be a Trans-Saharan Railway back proposed. however the thought used to be simply as quick dropped. The Trans-Saharan Railway is now unthinkable as a lot for the inhospitable geography of transferring sands as for the transferring politics, or the lesser rate and comfort of air commute. one of many few secure shuttle predictions for Africa’s destiny is that it'll no longer contain the word, “All aboard for Timbuktu.

Download PDF sample

Rated 4.86 of 5 – based on 35 votes