African Laughter: Four Visits to Zimbabwe

African Laughter: Four Visits to Zimbabwe

Doris Lessing

Language: English

Pages: 464

ISBN: 0060924330

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A highly personal story of the eminent British writer returning to her African roots that is "brilliant . . . [and] captures the contradictions of a young country."--New York Times Book Review

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left at all. ‘Can’t you see what is happening in Zimbabwe? We have been having electricity cuts for weeks. The railway system is not working. The telephones work or not.* They can’t even get coal from the coalfields to the hospitals–this week no operations in Harare’s main hospital. No coal for the tobacco barns and tobacco is the main foreign exchange earner. They borrow six locomotives from South Africa, and in the first week two are a write-off–two more are disabled and need repair. At a time

what will happen now that South Africa has had its change of heart? I think it should be asked what those hundreds, perhaps thousands, of men and women are doing whose occupation has gone–trained to sabotage, destroy, undermine, destabilize their neighbouring black countries. Are these clever and cunning and brutal people now sitting back smiling benevolently while Mozambique, which they have destroyed, tries to restore itself? While Botswana, where they sent agents to murder and sabotage,

workers. The waiters were all black, lively, and with a confidence and ease it was pleasant to watch. Soon a young couple, white, came to join the Swedes. They were of that immediately recognizable kind, children of the 1960s who, if too young to have actually partaken of the delights of that decade, were stamped by it. They are genial, anxious always to present to everyone a willed innocence, are open to every idea going, sensible or not, from pacifism to vegetarianism or aromatherapy and UFOs,

to that farm, full of workshops and machinery and animals? That great house, full of rooms? To the young black women so desperate to be cooks, parlour maids, waitresses? At supper–fifteen people, family friends, visitors, a scene of peace and plenty–all the talk had been of war. Again I heard the note of bitter longing and regret, when they remembered how at nights they lay in the bush under the stars, and tried to stave off sleep because of the splendour of the skies, and listened to the

to the amenities of the hotel in the little provincial town which owes its importance to being on the road north to Zambia. Then we visited a woman who is involved with the recruiting and supervision of teachers from America and countries in Europe. She said, ‘You would be surprised how many of the headmasters go bad.’ We told her a version of the current joke: What is the most dangerous occupation in Zimbabwe these days? Answer: Headmaster. You’ll be lucky to get away with five years. (Told us

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