More than a book, “Afriques, Panafrique - Des racines à l’arbre” *, is a true work of memory. The authors, Christophe BASTID and Patrick BEY, dedicated it to African youth, inviting them to invent their own role models..... Interview with one of the authors of the book, Dr Christophe Bastid.
Mining and Business: What is your background in a few words?
Christophe BASTID: I am a Hepato Gastroenterologist living in Marseille and I practiced medicine in Africa for a couple of years. I am also Honorary Consul of the Republic of Cape Verde.
M&B: Where did the idea for your book come from?
CB: This work comes from a great question. Why is this continent’s head systematically pushed underwater? Why does 20% of the world’s population not have a seat at the UN Security Council? We cannot accept that this continent is constantly being devalued when it is clearly the world’s resource. So, the two authors said to themselves: we will try to restore truths, but we must start by understanding Africa’s history.
M&B: You did so by immersing yourself in the speeches of the great men of Africa, is that right?
CB: Yes, speeches are interesting because for the man working on
it, it’s a condensed way of getting messages across. We therefore
selected speeches in different fields,
political, but also economic or cultural. They were commented on by people concerned about the continent. Most of them are Africans, academics, diplomats, industrialists or artists. And for a single speech, we did several analyses each time. In total, there are 127 analysts in the book. The result is a book with very different facets that make the whole thing relevant and informative.
M&B: What would you answer to those saying: Well done, but why did it have to be Europeans writing this book?
CB: The two whites in question: Patrick, 100 years’ experience in Côte d’Ivoire together with his father and grandfather. Africa is also a part of himself. And in my case, it represents my childhood and a lot of time spent travelling. So we feel like we owe something to this continent. And you know, Africans can be white too.
M&B: Why looking back into the past of such a young continent? And why making a book that is expensive
and therefore difficult for young people to read?
CB: “The baobab’s strength is in its roots”. It is not about looking back, it is about illuminating the founding roots of a historical heritage. This beautiful book is indeed expensive, because it has 1040 pages and 400 cards and photos. It’s a big block, but it’s a new documentary source until now, and you can break it up as many times as you want to discover it. It has its place on the shelves of all those who love the Continent.