Book details

286 Pages
Publication date: October 2019
Bernd Dörries

The Smiling Continent

Expedition to an Unknown Africa


Did you know that Mozambique has the tastiest crabs, Burkina Faso the biggest film festival in Africa and Nigeria the best Scrabble players in the world? No? Everyone has a fixed picture of Africa, most of them without ever having been there. Rarely is this picture positive. But what if Africa is completely different? Bernd Dörries travels the continent and meets people who rarely lose their laughter.

There are quite a few who believe that Africa is a single country with the same people, the same problems, the continent of the three Cs: conflict, corruption and catastrophes. But is Africa really like that, or do we just want to see it that way? Bernd Dörries describes 34 countries south of the Sahara with great humour and a subjective view. He finds routine and new beginnings, stagnation and hope. He travels to isolated Equatorial Guinea, which seldom issues visas, and is told in Ethiopia why the country is the best in Africa in the eyes of its inhabitants.

»The author cleverly intersperses travel anecdotes: he wants to whet the appetite for discovery.«
Ruhr Nachrichten

»A captivating and kitschless collection of reportages that invite you to look at things from a new angle, without lecturing or romanticising.«
Neue Zürcher Zeitung


English manuscript

Sample Translation


Bernd Dörries

Bernd Dörries, born in 1974, has been reporting on sub-Saharan Africa from Cape Town for the Süddeutsche Zeitung since 2017. He has approached Africa as many others have. He has thought of dangerous animals and diseases, of wars and hunger – and on his travels to 34 countries he has discovered a fascinating continent that is completely different from the cliché. Most of all he enjoys to sit on the helipad of a high-rise building in Nairobi or take a boat down the Congo.