In her latest book, Michela Wrong writes that, ‘Few narratives possess the seductive power of the Rwanda Patriotic Front’s redemptive tale of humiliated-refugees-reborn-as-crusaders, righteous warriors returning to a lost motherland to save their brothers from the forces of Absolute Evil and then, on the toxic ruins of a racist society, building a spotless, disciplined, tech-friendly African Utopia.’ Not someone predisposed to political fairy tales, she sets about to demolish it.
Michela Wrong’s latest book Do Not Disturb: The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad was published on 1 April 2021. It has garnered two very different sets of responses. Many reviewers describe it as a very brave book, brave because it sets out to document and dismantle the myths that have been built up around Rwandan President Paul Kagame and the “miracle” of Rwanda’s post-genocide development. But others have accused Wrong of being racist and stereotyping Africa and Africans.
Let me say up front that I place myself in the first category.
I have admired Wrong’s writing since her first book, In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz (published in 2000), and followed it through I Didn’t Do it For You: How the World Used and…