Destination: Malawi

The Lower River

An excerpt from the new novel by Paul Theroux

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Shrinking Planet Headline of the Day: ‘Facebook Swahili Version Launched’

Facebook is now available in roughly 50 languages, and Swahili was the second African language to get its own version of the social networking site, the BBC reports.

Suffering and Smiling: Vanity Fair Does Africa

Africa is hot. Why? So we can save it? Frank Bures deconstructs the magazine's latest issue and what it says about Western views of the continent.

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No. 29: “Venture to the Interior” by Laurens van der Post

To mark our five-year anniversary, we’re counting down the top 30 travel books of all time, adding a new title each day this month.
Published: 1952
Territory covered: Malawi
In 1949, while the world was still licking its war wounds, Laurens van der Post set off for the British colony of Nyasaland (now Malawi) to map two mountains still unknown to cartographers. But his account of the trip is no mere expedition tale. Van der Post’s voice is devoid of machismo, even when one of his party members dies. Instead, his venture to the interior is more existential, and he isn’t afraid to muse in the manner of St. Exupery—a refreshing break from much of today’s vapid extreme outdoor culture. “I have always bought as little and made as few arrangements as possible,” he writes. The book has a resonance beyond its clean, quiet prose—a kind of melancholy self-reflection. In one instance, he asks, “Has there been another age that, knowing so clearly the right things to do, has so consistently done the wrong ones?” Reading this book is certainly one of the right ones.

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