Based on a neglected archive of Polish cultural encounters with the Third World, this comparative study examines the ways formal techniques of narrative non-fiction developed in conjunction with political upheaval in the socialist and decolonizing worlds in the second-half of the twentieth century. By putting the work of Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuściński in conversation with that of an international milieu of anti-colonial writers and filmmakers of the period, I develop a new genealogy of the reportage genre to show how it was mobilized to create a political culture of “friendship” between the Second and Third Worlds, in accordance with the Soviet Union’s foreign policy. But it is not simply that this body of work reflects Soviet Cold War strategy that interests me. The heavy-handed influence of the Soviet Union restricted the satellite states’ right to national self-determination in a manner that seemed to be in contradiction with the Socialist Bloc’s official support for anti-imperialism in the Third World. This contradiction found form, I argue, in works of anti-colonial reportage that, through the use of intertextuality, intermediality, allegory, and allusion express a content in excess of what they report. They express, I contend, the desire, held by many Third World and satellite state subjects alike, to develop democratic alternatives to the political systems of both the West and the Soviet Union.