The Zanzibar Chest

Today’s FreshAir interviews Former war correspondent Aidan Hartley, who was born in Africa to a British colonial officer father. The previous four generations of his family were colonial officiers for The Great Britian. Hartley himself was a war correspondent for Reuters.

I was only able to listen to half of the show on my way to work this morning. It was fascinating. His experiences and his reactions to the suffering of Africa, the continent he deeply attached to. He considered Africa his home. Kenya his homecountry. The few segments he read from his book was lyrical and full of the mystery and beauty of African light. Words can be magical sometimes.

In the 1990s he covered Ethiopia, Somalia, Rwanda and the Congo for Reuters. Three of his colleagues were killed by a mob in Somolia during a rebellion against the presence of U.S. forces, and he witnessed the atrocities in Rwanda. Hartley grew up in Africa, the son of a British colonial officer. After the death of his father, Hartley found in a chest his father had given him the diaries of his father’s best friend who had died mysteriously 50 years earlier. Hartley set out to find out what happened. His new memoir is The Zanzibar Chest: A Story of Life, Love, and Death in Foreign Lands.