“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.”
― Karen Blixen, Out of Africa
This is why I believe everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime Africa – to feel the dust on their skin, to smell the odour of poverty; but also to see the stars on the sky from closer (I have never seen more beautiful night sky!) and to learn or remember what life is really about without the jamming our minds technologies and excessive comfort.
For links to books click on the photos
1 – I Dreamed of Africa: Tie In Edition
At the age of twenty-five, Kuki Gallman, divorced and badly injured in a devastating car accident, left Italy to convalesce in Africa with the man who would become her second husband. Enchanted by the land, they established a vast ranch on the Laikipia plateau in Kenya. But Africa’s splendour came with a price. Filled with pain and joy, beauty and drama, Gallman’s haunting memoir “captures perfectly the magic of Kenya” (The New York Times Book Review).
2 – South from the Limpopo: Travels Through South Africa
Dervla Murphy’s journal of her cycle tours of South Africa in 1994 gives a day-by-day view of that period. When Dervla first pedalled across the Limpopo she fancied that she “understood” South Africa’s problems because for more than 40 years she had – from a distance – taken an interest in them. Twelve hours later that illusion was shattered. This text reflects her moods of confusion and elation, hope and disappointment as she tries to come to terms with a country even more complex and fractured – but also more flexible – than she had expected. The journey of more than 6000 miles took her through all nine provinces of the new South Africa. As the months passed she came to realize how simplistic it is to see South Africa’s conflict as only “black versus white”.
3 – Cry, the Beloved Country
An Oprah Book Club selection, Cry, the Beloved Country, the most famous and important novel in South Africa’s history, was an immediate worldwide bestseller in 1948. Alan Paton’s impassioned novel about a black man’s country under white man’s law is a work of searing beauty.
4 – Out of Africa
In this book, the author of Seven Gothic Tales gives a true account of her life on her plantation in Kenya. She tells with classic simplicity of the ways of the country and the natives: of the beauty of the Ngong Hills and coffee trees in blossom: of her guests, from the Prince of Wales to Knudsen, the old charcoal burner, who visited her: of primitive festivals: of big game that were her near neighbors–lions, rhinos, elephants, zebras, buffaloes–and of Lulu, the little gazelle who came to live with her, unbelievably ladylike and beautiful.
5- Green Hills of Africa
Amazon synopsis: The most intimate and elaborately enhanced addition to the Hemingway Library series: Hemingway’s memoir of his safari across the Serengeti—presented with archival material from the Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Library and with the never-before-published safari journal of Hemingway’s second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer.
When it was first published in 1935, The New York Times called Green Hills of Africa, “The best-written story of big-game hunting anywhere,” Hemingway’s evocative account of his safari through East Africa with his wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, captures his fascination with big-game hunting. In examining the grace of the chase and the ferocity of the kill, Hemingway looks inward, seeking to explain the lure of the hunt and the primal undercurrent that comes alive on the plains of Africa. Green Hills of Africa is also an impassioned portrait of the glory of the African landscape and the beauty of a wilderness that was, even then, being threatened by the incursions of man.
6 – When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa
Amazon synopsis: Hailed by reviewers as “powerful,” “haunting” and “a tour de force of personal journalism,” When A Crocodile Eats the Sun is the unforgettable story of one man’s struggle to discover his past and come to terms with his present. Award-winning author and journalist Peter Godwin writes with pathos and intimacy about Zimbabwe’s spiral into chaos and, along with it, his family’s steady collapse. This dramatic memoir is a searing portrait of unspeakable tragedy and exile, but it is also vivid proof of the profound strength of the human spirit and the enduring power of love.
“In the tradition of Rian Malan and Philip Gourevitch, a deeply moving book about the unknowability of an Africa at once thrilling and grotesque. In elegant, elegiac prose, Godwin describes his father’s illness and death in Zimbabwe against the backdrop of Mugabe’s descent into tyranny. His parent’s waning and the country’s deterioration are entwined so that personal and political tragedy become inseparable, each more profound for the presence of the other” — Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon
“A fascinating, heartbreaking, deeply illuminating memoir that has the shape and feel of a superb novel.” -Kurt Anderson, author of Heydey
7 – The Story of an African Farm
Amazon synopsis: In writing the first great South African novel, Olive Schreiner drew on childhood memories of life on the isolated African veld to fashion a powerful indictment of the rigid Boer and English social conventions of her day. This 1883 bestseller, published under the pseudonym Ralph Iron, was greeted by both praise and condemnation for its feminist views on women’s status and on marriage, and for its unorthodox critique of dishonesty and hypocrisy in the doctrines and practices of “respectable” Christian church people.
The tale begins with three childhood playmates growing up on a sheep farm: Waldo, son of the farm’s kindly and pious German overseer; Em, the stolid but kind English stepdaughter of Tant’ Sannie, the farm’s Boer owner; and Lyndall, Em’s spirited orphan cousin. As the story follows the friends to adulthood, basic conflicts are enacted both internally and externally. Em’s ardent fiancé falls in love with the beautiful but troubled Lyndall, who flouts social pressure to marry. Waldo struggles with his boundless yearning for spiritual fulfilment and for the stimulation that knowledge brings, as well as his need for warm human companionship.
Lyndall’s fierce efforts to wrest from the world life for herself and the effects her insight and courage have on others, make a gripping tale. This eloquent portrayal of loves damaged by societal repression retains its power more than a century after its first publication. Today’s readers will welcome this inexpensive edition of a literary landmark.
8 – Travels in West Africa (National Geographic Adventure Classics)
Follows the classic travel adventures of the late-nineteenth-century woman, who defied the conventions of Victorian England to complete her father’s research in western and equatorial Africa, during which she forged warm relationships with the natives and survived surprising challenges. Reprint.
To love Africa, you have to understand it; as it is for every other continent or country in the world. These books will help you understand the complex history of the continent, what the normal people wish for and will let you dive into the rich, colourful and unique African culture. Enjoy reading!
ADD TO PINTEREST