chapter  12
12 Pages

“Good Men in Africa”? From Missionaries to Mercenaries

WithBarbara Harlow

A Good Man in Africa describes an extended genealogy of men, from missionaries like Livingstone to the mercenaries of Executive Outcomes, and the narratives that chronicle their exploits and exploitations. Both H. Rider Haggard and John Buchan began their careers as representatives of British imperialism in South Africa, and translated that early African experience into the adventures of their novel's protagonists on their return to Britain. Ernest Mandel studied the evolution of the mystery novel into the international thriller—from street to stately home to transnational boardroom, as the dustjacket says, or, in other words, from colonialism into late capitalism—in Delightful Murder: A Social History of the Crime Story. Magnate dynasties continue to mine the mineral wealth of South Africa at the end of the twentieth century, but the miners themselves have come to play a new and critically decisive role in demanding a different distribution of that wealth.