Category Archives: communist propaganda

Boboland and Bongoland do not mix

Apartheid, European-style

Dalrymple writes that not far from his flat,

there is an area that was once a country village, which in the 18th and 19th centuries was an aristocratic retreat but which has long since been incorporated, de facto and de jure, into the city. The aristocrats have been replaced by the bobos, the bourgeois bohemians, with their cafés and restaurants and galleries selling stream-of-consciousness art. Property prices are eye-wateringly high.

On the other side of a road, you cross from Boboland into Bongoland.

Suddenly there is hardly a white face to be seen. The groceries are full of ‘exotic’ vegetables and stockfish of various kinds, as well as long-frozen products whose nature is not immediately obvious to me. The population, at weekends dressed in colourful printed African robes (no doubt made in China or Bangladesh), has been decanted into huge buildings of Corbusian inspiration, of an ugliness, brutality, and inhumanity that surpasses belief, and which are the equivalent of battery farms for chickens. Posters advertise Communist Party–organised demonstrations or collections of clothes for distribution to the poor; anti-capitalist slogans are everywhere.

Dalrymple observes that there is an easy sociability.

There is a certain solidarity. In one African grocery, I saw a woman with a basket of goods, not amounting to very much, who had not enough money to pay for the last item, a few tomatoes. The owner — a Malian — told her to take them anyway. He said to another woman, when she couldn’t find her money, ‘Just give me a kiss.’ Everyone rocked with laughter, with that full-souled laughter that I know so well from my time in Africa.

Boboland and Bongoland do not mix,

notwithstanding a geographical separation of not more than 20 yards and Boboland’s ideological adherence to multiculturalism.

No bobo ventures into Bongoland, and no bongo ventures into Boboland.

There was more mixing in Johannesburg under apartheid than here.

Which does Dalrymple prefer, Boboland or Bongoland? He supposes that he is a bobo, but he feels more warmth towards Bongoland.

My heart is in the latter, but my wallet is in the former.

አዲስ አበባ

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 21.54.54New Flower

Finding himself in Addis Ababa, Dalrymple confesses that he does not consider it to be

an attractive city. Faeculent slums of mud and tin crowd between the modern buildings, which look like the product of a joint committee of the Bulgarian politburo and the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 21.43.58

The joint committee

North Korean experts

in urban beautification have been brought in and, at a cost of many millions, soaring monuments of bronze and concrete extolling the heroism, solidarity, just struggle, etc. of the toiling masses have been erected.

Picking up the English-language Ethiopian Herald, Dalrymple reads about

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 22.34.46another victory for the broad masses.

A report in the newspaper

states that in the space of three months, 810,000 people have been ‘successfully villagised’ in the small province of Arsi alone.

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 22.45.01There are other provinces

in which 2m have been similarly villagised.

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 21.03.02


Much-thumbed volume

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 08.46.32Growing up with a communist father, Dalrymple counted this as one of his favourite books. He tells an interviewer:

Tinhamos um Short Course em casa, aliás, era um dos meus livros favoritos (que eu costumava folhear quando criança) era um livrocom vastas imagens da União Soviética em 1947.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 08.57.32