Western Author’s Gap Year Memoir Angers Africans on Twitter

Fredrick Ngugi July 12, 2016
Scottish writer and actress Louise Linton. Zimbio

Scottish author and actress Louise Linton appears to have rubbed Africans the wrong way with her gap year in Africa memoir, “In Congo’s Shadow,” in which she recounts her horrifying encounters in Africa during her stay in Zambia, the Guardian reports.

Many Zambians and Africans around the world took to Twitter to condemn her book’s excerpt, “How my dream gap year in Africa turned into a nightmare,” which was published by the Telegraph in early July. Most accuse her of misrepresenting facts and mocking Africans.

In her memoir, Linton reveals how she spent her gap year in Zambia “helping some of the world’s poorest people,” according to CNN.

She claims that within three months of her arrival at Lake Tanganyika, Zambia, she was forced to hide from Congolese rebels involved in the Hutu-Tutsi civil war – an allegation that has been widely criticized with some Africans claiming there was no such war in Zambia.

Her controversial book also received condemnation from Gerard Zytkow, a Zambian businessman of European origin, who claimed that he owned a fishing lodge near the place where Linton worked as a volunteer at the time.

“I know all this because I was there. Shame on her for her mindboggling and nonsensical fiction. Her book should be banned. Or at least be presented as warped fiction,” Zytkow wrote on Facebook.

Linton’s Response

According to the Guardian, Linton was quick to respond to the criticism on Twitter, where she expressed her dismay and shock at the amount of negative response her memoir had attracted. She also hit back at Gerard Zytkow saying that he was the one telling lies.

“I am genuinely dismayed and very sorry to see that I have offended people as this was the very opposite of my intent,” Linton wrote on her Twitter page, which appears to have been pulled down.

Her article in the Telegraph has given her book bad publicity; according to the Guardian, it has received multiple negative reviews on bookselling giant Amazon.com, where it currently has a one-star rating. The excerpt on the Telegraph’s website has since been removed, with all existing links now pointing to a 404 error page.

Last Edited by:Deidre Gantt Updated: September 15, 2018


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