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Jiří Černický: Congo of the North


Release year: 2023
Publisher: dybbuk
Bound biding
Number of pages: 624
Format: 135 x 195 mm
ISBN 978-80-7690-044-8
EAN: 9788076900448

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Do you think it is impossible to go to the darkest heart of Africa, Zaire or Congo, on foot with a backpack on your back and one dollar a day? There are not many who have accomplished such a thing. In the early 1990s, a few years after the revolution, Jiří Černický set out “just so easily” to explore one of the most mysterious, least explored and most dangerous territories in the world, an area equal to a third of Europe. It was a place that lacked almost any infrastructure, had no oil or water, and was ruled for a long time by one of the worst dictators, Mobutu Sese Seko.
It was not just any journey, it was an artistic journey and had a certain charitable purpose. Therefore, in the author’s words, it is not so much “a travelogue as an attempt to connect two areas, which in my opinion both represent the emotion of emptiness”. It was guided by the ethos of efforts to bridge neglected regions located on the periphery, on the edge of interest, places without the perspective of personal growth.
But at the same time, it was also an adventure full of danger in the form of prowling jaguars, horny border guards, frequent hunger, diarrhea and other impending diseases, shipwrecks, constant mud and impenetrable jungle, or refugees from the raging conflict in Rwanda. But also extraordinary animals, flowers, colors, smells, unrepeatable experiences and unexpected human generosity.

Do you think you know the roughest Czech north well because you grew up there? This book will lead you astray. From the adventures experienced in groups of boys and the discovery of unusual treasures in the “world’s largest dump” full of the most toxic waste, scratching off tempting stickers on Western racing cars or creating “African lakes” in flooded quarries and with released aquarium fish through peeping corners of ancient history in the form of, for example, a shelter from werwolves or Goebbels’s cabin, getting along with various local defiantly unadaptable citizens to the experience gained in the mine, the author scours all corners of his childhood and adolescence to bring to light everything seemingly poor, ugly, lost and forgotten as something that can be transferable, the shareable experience of all of us, and finally its exact opposite.