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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

African bookseller on the Niger River

Here's an interesting picture of an African bookseller who is in danger of losing his business. The economy has nothing to do with it. Progress is about to do him in.


The year is 1961 and the reverse side of this Associated Press wire photo (below) indicates that this bookseller keeps shop on a ferry that transports passengers across the Niger River (country not named). In the near future, within the next five years, a bridge will be built across the river in the location where this ferry boat runs. Modern times and technology, circa 1965, will eliminate the need for water transport of people. No ferry, no book shop for this enterprising young man.


His books appear to be used and antiquarian in nature, with perhaps a few newer titles in the mix. The titles that are legible are in English (and the newer looking books). A dictionary, a book about manners, and one about the dangers of drinking and smoking. With the much older looking books on the table, the stock certainly appears eclectic in subject matter.


So what happened to the bookseller when that bridge was inevitably built some 45 years ago? Another ferry down river? A terrestrial setting? Whatever the surface, I think this guy probably landed on his feet.

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