Book Review – African Muckraking

African Muckraking – 75 Years of Investigative Journalism from Africa by Anya Schiffrin with George Lugalambi (Jacana) ISBN 9781431425860

Book Review – African Muckraking

African Muckraking is a long over-due monument to Africa’s investigative journalists. The book brings together 41 news articles that have shaped the history of the continent or raised awareness on social injustices. Each article is introduced by a presentation of its author. I’ve sometimes enjoyed these contextual explanations more than the articles themselves.

The journalists are indeed the heroes of this collection. They’ve revealed human rights violations and corruption, often at the peril of their lives. Many have been arrested. Some like Burkina Faso’s Norbert Zongo have been assassinated.

Don’t expect poetry. Expect political engagement, activism, detailed evidence.  Expect heart-breaking stories: such as the story of a 14-year old albino boy sold for 6000 USD by his father.

While reading African Muckraking, I’ve been caught between anger and hope. Anger because many of the crimes revealed by African journalists are still a reality. Hope that with this book investigative journalists’ contributions will be recognised. Hope that they will serve as role models for a generation of young Africans who will not shy away from using the pen as a tool for justice and development.

Tassilo von Droste