Big Men, Little People

The Leaders who Defined Africa

Alec Russell



In this book, Alec Russell looks at Africa through his encounters with its 'Big Men'. Each one represents a theme that has shaped Africa: Mobutu Sese Seko, The 'King of Kleptocracy', whose staggering corruption crippled Zaire; Jonas Savimbi, the life-long guerilla and symbol of the Cold War's destructive legacy on the continent; the quixotic Hastings Banda, the ultimate product of colonialism; and, of course, Nelson Mandela, symbol of reconciliation and hope for an entire continent. Now in a chapter written after the bleak events of early 2000 Russell focuses on Robert Mugabe, the Big Man of Zimbabwe who has made those hopes of an African renaissance seem desperately premature.


Big Men, Little People is a vividly written portrait of a continent, which avoids the usual stereotypes and dire prophecies and entertains from start to finish.


Alec Russell is the associate foreign editor of the Daily Telegraph. He was previously its Southern African correspondent, based in Johannesburg, and a stringer reporting on the Bosnian conflict.