Go Tell the Crocodiles

Chasing Prosperity in Mozambique

In the tradition of Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, an unforgettable exploration of the trials of daily life in Mozambique, long heralded as Africa’s “rising star”

“Mozambique, one of the world’s fastest growing economies for much of the past decade, admitted . . . that its debt levels are unsustainable.”
The Guardian, October 2016

Over the past twenty-five years, Mozambique has charted a path of dizzying economic growth nearly as steep as China’s, making it among the fastest-growing economies on the planet. But most Mozambicans have little to show for the long boom; to travel in Mozambique is to see much of the promise of development as a mirage. And in the fall of 2016, a debt crisis unraveled layers of corruption that reverberated across Europe, heralding what many in the financial world feared might be the beginning of a “global financial shockwave” (The Guardian).

Go Tell the Crocodiles explores the efforts of ordinary people to provide for themselves where foreign aid, the formal economy, and the government have fallen short. Author Rowan Moore Gerety tells the story of contemporary Mozambique through the heartbreaking and fascinating lives of real people, from a street kid who flouts Mozambique’s child labor laws to make his living selling muffins, to a riverside community that has lost dozens of people to crocodile attacks. Moore Gerety introduces us to a nation still coming to grips with a long civil war and the legacy of colonialism even as it wrestles with the toll of infectious disease and a wave of refugees, weaving stories together into a stunning account of the challenges facing countries across Africa.

Praise

“With a cast of characters vast enough for an epic, Rowan Moore Gerety’s Mozambique emerges facet by facet like a rough-hewn jewel, reflecting back at us the struggles of Africa and of all countries wrestling with a brutal past and the false promises of modernity.”
—Delphine Schrank, author of The Rebel of Rangoon
“For Mozambique, a country which has suffered as much as any in Africa, this book is the real story. It is full of grit, despair, vivid detail, colorful characters, and the unexpected resourcefulness of people who’ve managed to create jobs, music and more when every conceivable force seems arrayed against them.”
—Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost
“Overflows with fantastically close reporting, cool and subtle judgments, and characters that absolutely leap to life. Rowan Moore Gerety gets next to all sorts of Mozambicans—street vendors, poor farmers, a people smuggler, the hapless leader of the political opposition—and then takes us deep into lives that illuminate the dark, pitiless dynamics of profound underdevelopment.”
—William Finnegan, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Barbarian Days and staff writer for the New Yorker
“Rowan Moore Gerety has given us a wry and beautifully written account of Mozambique today, a country that has managed the troubling feat of failing its people while showing signs of stunning economic growth. It’s about Mozambique—and it’s about the world we all live in.”
—Amy Wilentz, author of The Rainy Season