The Shadow of the Sun

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The Shadow of the Sun
The Shadow of the Sun - R. Kapuscinski.jpg
Front cover of The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuściński
AuthorRyszard Kapuściński
TranslatorKlara Glowczewska
PublisherPenguin Books
Publication date

The Shadow of the Sun (Polish: Heban, literally "Ebony") is a travel memoir by the Polish writer and journalist Ryszard Kapuściński. It was published by Penguin Books in 2001 with the English translation by Klara Glowczewska. Kapuściński spent nearly 30 years in various African countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ethiopia and more, detailing his accounts as a white, foreign visitor, of the development of the African states.[1]

Kapuściński's experience in Africa was unique, because he had the opportunity to stay with people of various classes in society, staying with ministers, as well as peasants in rural villages which gave him an honest perspective on what was the current situation of the continent.[2]

The early pages of The Shadow of the Sun, a compendium of further adventures in Africa, find Ryszard Kapuściński in Dar es Salaam in 1962, where he hears that Uganda is about to gain independence. He and a friend, Leo, promptly set off for Kampala via the Serengeti, with its teeming wildlife. "It's all improbable, incredible. As if one were witnessing the birth of the world, that precise moment when the earth and sky already exist, as do water, plants, and wild animals, but not yet Adam and Eve." They have no maps, they're lost, and they're confronted with an enormous herd – "stretching almost to the horizon" – of buffalo. They press on regardless.[1]


  1. ^ a b Geoff Dyer (2 June 2001), Book review: The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski, trans. Klara Glowczewska, Penguin, 336 pp. The Guardian.
  2. ^ John Ryle (2001), "At play in the bush of ghosts" originally published as the “Tales of Mythical Africa” by the Times Literary Supplement, 27 July 2001. Review of: Ryszard Kapuściński, The Shadow of the Sun, translated by Klara Glowczewska, 336 pp, Penguin Books, 2001. See: Reprint of the review in full.