African Ghost: The Lingering Spirit of Kurtz by Cameron Winter

African Ghost: The Lingering Spirit of Kurtz by Cameron Winter

Who is Kurtz?

Kurtz is a mystery, the enigmatic figure at the center of Heart of Darkness. He is revered and hated, feared and envied. He is a presence, rather than a character, and when we do meet him, our perceptions are filtered through Marlowe’s eyes and Kurtz’s own illness.

Who is Kurtz?

Kurtz is terror and tribalism, the representative of a supposedly civilized state gone mad as the locals he was sent to tame. He sets himself up as a god, forces the natives to worship him, and sends them to attack his fellow white men. He keeps the heads of his enemies around his fort. To the imperial powers back home, he is their nightmare made real: a good white man gone native.

Who is Kurtz?

Kurtz is imperialism and invasion, a foreign power come down on the people of the Belgian Congo with all the arrogance and brutality that a world power can muster. He is contemptuous of the native peoples, exploiting them for his own ends, railing about the need to “exterminate the brutes!” His is the rule of fear, and one expects that his “worshippers” were glad to see him go.

Who is Kurtz?

Kurtz is militarism and madness, a soldier whose experiences have caused him to snap, a man who in the end can only wail about the horrors he has seen, a victim of the very forces he represents.

Who is Kurtz?

Kurtz is a ghost whose spirit lingers over his old stomping grounds to this day. If one travels to Central Africa, one will find a place where militaristic ambitions and tribal loyalties war over the bones of European empires, where outside the few safe spaces, a thousand Kurtzs howl still, hoping to drag entire nations down to their own, irrevocably damaged, level.

To read an excerpt from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, or to purchase a copy, head to Amazon or IndieBound.

Cameron Article PictureCameron Winter is an aspiring author from Lindsay, Ontario. Having recently completed both an Honours BA in History at Trent University, and a certificate in Creative Writing from Humber College, he is currently working on a novel, and several pieces of short fiction. He has been previously published by Black Heart Magazine, and can be found on Facebook.