I’m back from a holiday trip to Portugal and England (with a very brief foray in Madrid) – unexpected travel conditions also had me touch down in Paris and Brussels, so in about 10 days I managed to touch down on the land of all of the post WWI European colonial masters.
My trip had no Africa focus at all, but nonetheless, the continent popped up in a much more prevalent way than one would observe in the US/DC. Lisbon had Tuareg bars (see above picture) and its museums had numerous odes to Portugal’s African ‘discoverers’ of centuries past. There was curiously little mention of Salazar, who led the colonial wars in these museums however. Even the British Airways inflight magazine had references to Liberia, Namibia, and African literature.
Bookstores in Lisbon had sections dedicated to the colonial wars (I was particularly intrigued by a book on the 500,000 Portuguese who abruptly returned home following the collapse of the colonial empire):
While those in London had immense sections on travel in Africa:
In Lisbon I went to a temporary exhibition on urban planning in the Portuguese African colonies from 1944 – 1974:
In the UK, I popped into the British Museum where I saw some old relics as well as new art such as this throne of guns produced from weapons used in Mozambique’s civil war:
I observed stores in London’s Metro selling biltong (South African beef jerky), but perhaps most interesting of all, the hotel I stayed at in Lisbon had a Kony 2012 logo branded on its wall: