WorldViews: Why do all these books about Africa look the same?

By Ishaan Tharoor, May 16, 2014

Often, cliches are cliches because they carry a kernel of truth. But sometimes cliches are cliches because they are lazy and pernicious.

A meme triggered this week by the Africa Is a Country blog exposes the latter. A reader of the blog posted on Twitter a collage of 36 prominent books set in or about Africa, all of which seem to have the same sort of image on the cover: of a drooping, usually solitary acacia tree, suffused in the moody glow of sunset (or dawn, perhaps).

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