‘The conquest of the earth is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much’
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, 1899
African Apocalypse tells the story of a young man’s epic journey across Africa in search of a colonial killer. It is an urgent and timely non-fiction retelling of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
Armed with a copy of Conrad’s classic novel, British-Nigerian Oxford University student Femi Nylander goes in search of the meaning and legacy of colonial horror in West Africa. He discovers the unknown story of a French army captain, Paul Voulet, who descended into unspeakable barbarity in the conquest of Niger at the very moment Conrad wrote his book.
Femi finds communities still traumatised by the century-old violence of Voulet. For many Nigeriens, their unenviable status as what the United Nations describes as the world’s least developed country dates from the moment of Voulet’s arrival in their land. But amidst a tragic history, Femi also encounters a beautiful spirit of hope: young people learning to find a way out of colonialism’s darkness, and a country determined to harness the power of its most precious resource, the light of the sun.
He returns to Britain just as a new global confrontation of the legacy of empire and racism emerges in the Black Lives Matter protests. Empowered by his journey, Femi joins up determined to play his full part in this growing movement against oppression.