It was the 1950s, the final years of colonialism in Africa and the start of the long struggle for independence.
A young and very naïve RAF serviceman stationed in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) ignores all warnings that “white men never hitchhike in Africa” sets off with a map, a pack, and an insatiable curiosity to see Africa.
In this lively, evocative, richly drawn travel account, complete with maps, the author shares his pre-revolutionary experiences wandering thru Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), Nyasaland (Malawi), Mozambique, South Africa, and the Belgian Congo (Zaire). He accepts every invitation from every stranger that he meets and explores tobacco farms, copper mines, and sugar plantations. He clashes with border officials, is stuck on the banks of the Zambezi River for days, learns a great deal of history, and is very nearly court-martialed.
Along the way he meets everyone from drunks and missionaries to black laborers and white salesmen. And through endless conversations with this diverse swath of humanity, he confronts racism, paternalism, and Apartheid, slowly grasping the pulse, rhythm and extraordinary complexity of this magical land – caught in a critical moment in history.
The author fills each chapter with little known historical facts and in well researched appendixes he explains the reason for the “scramble for Africa’ between the British, the French, the Portuguese, and the Germans.
He describes the extraordinary inland naval battles involving HMS Mimi, HMS Tou Tou and HMS Fifi. Which gave rise to the film The African Queen. Fulford also describes in detail why the Capetown to Cairo Railway, an extraordinarily ambitious enterprise, was never completed.
Whether history buff or travel reader, this most unusual book will satisfy and delight. Reaffirming the exhilarating nature of exotic discovery, strange corners of history and, above all, the pioneering travel spirit.
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