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Guinea 2024



In the villages of eastern Guinea, women work diligently in front of their earthen-and-thatch homes. They dry pealed cassava on wood racks, wash rice in tubs, and cook pots of porridge over open wood fires—but these two young women have taken a break from their work to greet visitors from afar. While Guinea is rich in bauxite and other minerals, in rural villages like Boutoudou, far from the capital city of Conakry and other commercial centers, life depends on locally grown food. It is women like these who are the sustainers not only of their families, but of an essential agrarian economy.

Charles Eilers © 2009
PCV Nigeria and Ethiopia 1966–1969
Teacher Training

République de Guinée

Western Africa

Area 95K mi2; 246K km2

Arable 12%

Population 13.6M (143/mi²; 55/km²)

Gov’t Presidential republic

Capital Conakry (1.2M)

GCP/Capita $2,600

Unemployment 6%

In Poverty 44%

Infant Mortality 48/1K live births (19th)

Life expectancy 64 yrs

Median Age 19 yrs

Literacy 40%

Languages French (official), Pular, Maninka, Susu (among about 40 native languages)

Religions Muslim 89%, Christian 7%, animist 2%, other 2%

Health 4% of GDP

Education 2% of GDP (182nd)

Military 1% of GDP (93rd)

Labor Force Agriculture 76%, industry 24%

PCVs 1963–1966, 1969–1971, 1985–present CURRENT: Yes, TTD: 1,855

Adult Books

Heremakhonon: A Novel
By Maryse Condé. Translated from the French by Richard Philcox.

Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Lynne Rienner Publishers (1999; 1st edition: Three Continents, 1982; 1st French edition: 1976)
ISBN-10: 0894108867
ISBN-13: 978-0894108860

Maryse Condé, winner of the New Academy Prize in Literature (2018) and the Cino Del Duca World Prize (2021), began her prolific novel-writing career with this first-person narrative set in Guinea. She has explained that its title means “waiting for happiness” in the Mandinka language. Although she has insisted that Heremakhanon is the opposite of autobiography, her main character shares many of her own formative experiences: a Guadeloupean childhood, university studies in Paris, a teaching career, and a move to newly independent Guinea in search of roots and a sense of identity. The resemblance ends there, however. The fictional character’s introduction to life in Guinea proves sobering and fraught with tension as she is torn between her respect and affection for activist colleagues and students at the university and her social ties to Conakry’s privileged elite and ambivalent relationship with a high-ranking member of the government.

Heremakhonon [… grapples with] a theme which has concerned writers and artists of the African Diaspora in important and interesting ways. Drawing upon her own experiences […] in Guinea, Condé’s novel complicates the well-known trope of locating an unproblematic homeland […] and urges her readers to reflect on the relationship between travel and empire ….” (Nandini Dhar, Words of Color)

Kids' Books

The Dark Child: The Autobiography of an African Boy
By Camara Laye; trans James Kirkup & Ernest Jones

Format: PB, 192 pages
ISBN-10: 080901548X
ISBN-13: 978-0-80901-548-1
Age Range: Young Adult
Publisher: New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1954

A memoir of Camara Laye's youth in the village of Koroussa, French Guinea, a place steeped in mystery. He marvels over this mother's supernatural powers, his father's distinction as the village goldsmith, and his own passage into manhood, which is marked by animistic beliefs and bloody rituals of primeval origin. Eventually, he must choose between this unique place and the academic success that lures him to distant cities.

Editorial Reviews

The Dark Child has the force of nostalgia, which spurred Laye to write it to relieve his exile at a time when he was far from his people.” ―From the Introduction by Philippe Thoby-Marcellin

About the Author:
Camara Laye was born in 1928 in the village of Koroussa, French Guinea. He was still in his twenties and studying engineering in France when he wrote his award-winning memoir, The Dark Child. His next book, The Radiance of the King, was described as "one of the greatest of the African novels of the colonial period" (Kwame Anthony Appiah). He died in Senegal in 1980.


Film: Il va pleuvoir sur Conakry (Clouds Over Conarky)
Genre: Documentary
Director: Cheik Fantamady Camara
Country: Guinea
Filming Locations: Nepal
Language: French
Color: Color
Run Time: 1 hr 37 minutes

Story of a young caricaturist, BB, who works at a liberal newspaper and his relationship with his father, the Imam of the Great Mosque of Conakry. BB is in love with the daughter of his boss, but BB’s strict father does not approve.

Trailer: me..69i57j46i13i512j0i390i650.6475j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF- 8#fpstate=ive&vld=cid:05b4f98e,vid:SIuvVEm7E3U

Guinean Cheick Fantamady Camara's impressive debut feature proposes a romantic twist on the standby theme of African cinema, traditionalism vs. modernism, as a lovestruck cartoonist learns the spirits have chosen him instead of his religious older brother to succeed his father as imam of Guinea's capital, Conakry. Camara effortlessly steers "Clouds" as it suddenly veers from relaxed near-comedy to stark tragedy. Engrossing, well-constructed pic, winner of the audience prize at FESPACO, should see brisk fest play, while the wryly engaging characterizations could help snare a cable berth. — Ronnie Scheib, Variety

Viewer comment:
Very good movie! In 90 minutes you are the witness of many aspects (and problems) of contemporary Africa: religions, politics, traditions, Islam, animism, modern youth, men-women relationships, family, way of living, etc. A very intelligent movie! It's a travel inside day-to-day African life with love, emotions, drama, and laughing. Beautiful Africa! Good music, too. A lot of different characters, everyone well-defined and well-played. The movie is both complex and simply built, made for all audience but with a strong criticism of hypocrisy. Maybe the most important aspect is that the young characters of the movie, men and women, are strong without hatred; they will fight for a new Africa with hope and enthusiasm.


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