“Thanks to Africa, I know more about the world”

They said that in Opus.

Each week, Opus reveals from its archives an interview with a notable figure from the past 60 years.

Swedish writer Henning Mankelle, one of the world’s most widely read novelists, gave an exclusive interview to “Nouvel Observateur” in 2008. He evoked cherished Africa, his commitments, his father-in-law, Ingmar Bergman, and the detective novel as a mirror to society.

You lived half the year in Mozambique and half the year in Sweden for more than twenty years. She likes to say, “I have one foot in the snow and the other in the sand.”

Henning Mankell Nothing compelled me to go to Africa: it was an intimate choice. When I was about twenty, as a young writer, I had the distinct impression that I was looking for another view of the world than that of Eurocentric ethnocentrism. It was a very long time ago, in 1972. I got to Guinea-Bissau, which at that time was a Portuguese colony. It was an introductory experience. It’s the same desire that always drives me to go back to Africa: to get a better perspective on the world. I often say that this African experience has made me a better European. It can be easily explained. This distance allows me to see the world better—whether it is about my wife, my work, or what I read in the newspaper—and clearly see its functioning as well as its shortcomings: the continuing importance of Europe to the legacy of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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