“I believe that if ignorance can be banished from this world, if people can communicate with each other fully, frankly, and in depth, then all wars will cease because the cause of war is fear and hatred, and hatred is the ugly daughter of the evil witch of ignorance” – Zulu Shaman Dr Credo Mutwa
Little is known of the true history of Africa, and for Linda Smith who spent much of her formative years in Mufulira (formerly Northern Rhodesia which is now known as Zambia) it has been imperative that she tells the tale.
That she has a gift for writing is beyond question for with the word pictures she creates one is taken on a journey of adventure, excitement and abject fear as refugees flee from the atrocities of the Congo War and more.
Supplementing her tale with pictures and footnotes she shows how life changed in Africa – where politics became the name of the game and not necessarily for the betterment of its peoples.
The book can actually be divided into two distinct sections with the former charting her childhood and the way in which the outlook of the people around her changed. It tells of the forced removal of the Ba Tonka tribe so that the Kariba dam could be constructed; the break-up of the Federation of Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland; and in a delightful way the hopes of youngsters (immaterial of colour) who saw the potential of adventure in lush forests, fording streams and absorbing all that Africa had to offer including its magnificent sunrises and sunsets,
The ‘second’ section shows how far she had drifted from her original dreams and away from the person that she really was (but now is). It’s an awakening and the reason for the title ‘Returning to Myself’. And this is applicable to everyone (male and female).
She also looks at how religion and politics (two subjects which are supposedly taboo in conversation) affect our everyday lives and how often we tend to brush away conflicts rather than face them head on.
“There’s more to life than just having a job,” she states. “We need not exhaust ourselves chasing money, but should rather take the time to develop our consciousness and our love for self, our love for others, the Earth and all her inhabitants.
“In this new day and age, the way to an enriched life and to attain true wealth, and enjoy prosperity is to work honestly and with integrity.” And this brings me back to the opening quote by Sangoma Dr Credo Mutwa – who inspired Linda to tell her tale. If we take the time to understand each other and take ‘I’ out of the equation the world (to quote Michael Jackson) ‘will be a better place for you and me and the entire human race’.
I hope that when you read ‘Returning to Myself’ you are impacted by Linda’s words as much as I was and in the latter section come to realise whether you are on the right path to making YOUR world a better place.
‘Returning to Myself’, published by Fish Eagle Books, is available from Exclusive Books ISBN 978-0-620-43242-9