This is a book about the Africa in which we grew up, the Africa, which we know. It describes the Africa that has gone away, like clouds passing over the land. In this book, Madam Linda brings out a beauty that belonged to an Africa that used to be.
This book that Madam Linda Smith has written is a book that will live for many years. It is written by someone whose eyes are wide open, whose mind remembers. This book reveals many things that should be of interest to people who wish to know about Africa. It is not just a book about history, a book about what happened when and where. It is a book that reveals important things about this Dark Continent.
First of all, let me say that it deeply entertains both the earthly mind and undying spirit within all of us. It is book of a kind that would never be written again. It speaks to the heart of the poet, the heart of the observer, the heart of the lover of nature, the heart of the lover of people.
This book is for those who want to understand Africa and look beyond the curtain to what once was. Be prepared to smile, be prepared to be angry, and be prepared to weep. This is a book that looks behind the scenes and records the events that affected millions of people of all tribes and races. There are those who want us to forget Africa’s turbulent past. There are those who want us to forget the misery and bloodshed of this troubled, beautiful continent.
Happy is the soul of the poet, who like this young lady, brings back the romance and the beauty that once was our country. This is a book for caring, thinking people. I cannot recommend this book more.
DR CREDO MUTWA.
Africa’s highest Sanusi (oldest form of traditional healer), ‘Nyanga (healer) and Sangoma (diviner or priest).
Snippets from a few chapters
Word got out that a mutiny was brewing, and members of the African population sought to seize weapons from Belgian soldiers by brute force. The Belgians in Leopoldville fled their homes seeking safety in hotels and other venues. Their homes and other buildings had been rampaged by wild-eyed dagga and alcohol-crazed demented Africans, demandingly searching for weapons. Belgian military men who were in possession of firearms had been followed for days, and were stripped, not only of their guns, but every item of clothing they wore and were paraded naked through the streets. Power-crazed madmen held their families at gunpoint. ……………………..
My family lived in Mufulira, in Northern Rhodesia, a small mining town on the Copperbelt situated a mere ten miles from the Belgian Congo border. It was the ‘Rhodes and Founders’ weekend and my ninth birthday, Sunday 11July 1960. We spent the day motor boating and water-skiing on the Mindola Dam near Kitwe, 31 miles away. It was a warm but windy day and we had to climb the vertical steps into the yachtsmen’s lookout tower to light the nine candles on my iced chocolate birthday cake.
In the late afternoon on our way back home a flood of on-coming cars with foreign blue-number-plates were travelling in the opposite direction. This warned us that something was amiss. The Mufulira community had sprung into action and high school kids were on the roads directing the traffic. Friendly and empathetic mining families temporarily accommodated many of the refugees. Others were given petrol if needed and sent on to surrounding Copperbelt towns. They formed an endless convoy on the broad roads, making their sad and painful way down through Northern Rhodesia and into Southern Rhodesia. ……….
On hearing these abominable tales, some miners from Kitwe and Mufulira, immediately entered this war-torn territory and braved the flying bullets to rescue those terrified and destitute souls who had no other means of escape. These atrocities, and the goodness of the people that selflessly rendered assistance, left an indelible impression on me. Empathy is an inspiring motivator and many great and heroic deeds are committed in its name. In a world of falsehood, hypocrisy and corruption, the truth is that we are each prompted to help those who are in trouble, for we each have an amazing potential for goodness.
Many lives were destroyed in those few days, but when the evening came, unperturbed by man’s plight, the stars lit up the night sky and in the morning, the sun rose in the east, the birds sang and life went on. Many hearts bled for the sorrow of such a massive tragedy, but the blundering and butchering has continued for many decades.
The two Rhodesias, rich in warmth and generosity, rose to the occasion and assisted those flocking into these countries. Emergency committees were set up to provide accommodation, food and medical assistance. Hercules aircraft flew refugees into Southern Rhodesian towns and cities. All their worldly possessions were contained in a small packet. These people were housed wherever possible until further arrangements could be made. The Belgian authorities in the Congo had simply abandoned all their commitments and taken the first planes out. Planes arrived to collect the citizens of Belgian descent who were willing to say farewell to Africa.
‘And ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.’
The Prophet. Kahlil Gibran