African Laughter: Four Visits to Zimbabwe
|Author:||Doris May Lessing|
A highly personal story about returning to her African roots by the eminent British writer, African Laughter is also a rich and penetrating portrait of Doris Lessing’s homeland. In it she recounts the visits she made to Zimbabwe in 1982, 1988, 1989 and 1992, after being exiled from the old Southern Rhodesia for twenty-five years for her opposition to the white minority government. The visits constitute an unforgettable journey to the heart of a country whose history, landscape, people and spirit are evoked by Lessing in a dazzling narrative of vivid detail and poignant scenes.
Swooping from the verandahs to the grass roots and back again, noting the kinds of changes that can be appreciated only by one who has lived there before, Lessing embraces every facet of life in Zimbabwe from the lost animals of the bush to political corruption, from AIDS to a successful communal enterprise created by poor rural blacks. She talks with white farmers and black storytellers, reflecting on the easy mix of races in Zimbabwe today, in contrast with the racism of the past. She admires the new role of women in bringing about revolutionary social change.
African Laughter is a book about memory. Lessing evokes her childhood on an isolated farm in the bush, her parents and brother. And she explores the often unexpected ways in which elements of the past—African traditions and white customs—survive and knit themselves into contemporary life. A passionate, profound and utterly original book, African Laughter uses memory and reminiscence together with recent experience to create an impressionistic picture of a country in the process of energetic change.