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Delusional White Woman Louise Linton Draws Ire of African Twitter for Egregious "Zambian Memoir"

Louise Linton's “How my dream gap year in Africa turned into a nightmare” is the dumbest, most egregious piece of writing on Africa of the 21st century.

Update, December 1, 2016: Linton's fiancé, Steven Mnuchin, is U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Treasury secretary. (You can't make this stuff up.)


On Friday, The Telegraph ran what has to be the dumbest, most egregious piece of writing on Africa of the 21st century. In an article titled “How my dream gap year in Africa turned into a nightmare," Louise Linton, a white Scottish actress and certified delusional person now living in Los Angeles, shares an abridged version of her bafflingly idiotic and certainly fabricated memoir, In Congo's Shadow: One Girl's Perilous Journey to the Heart of Africa.

You better believe there's a Twitterstorm. We'll get to that in a minute. But first, here are some excerpts from the article to give you an idea of what we're dealing with:

“I had come to Africa with hopes of helping some of the world's poorest people. But my gap year had become a living nightmare when I inadvertently found myself caught up in the fringes of the Congolese War."“My innocent dreams of teaching the villagers English or educating them about the world now seemed ridiculously naïve. With a cheery smile, I'd waved goodbye to Dad and jumped on a plane to Africa without researching anything about its tumultuous political history or realising that my destination – Lake Tanganyika - was just miles from war-torn Congo."
“But I soon learned that Africa is rife with hidden danger. I witnessed random acts of violence, contracted malaria and had close encounters with lions, elephants, crocodiles and snakes. As monsoon season came and went, the Hutu-Tutsi conflict in neighbouring Congo began to escalate and then spill over into Zambia with repercussions all along the lake. Thousands of people were displaced and we heard brutal tales of rape and murder."
“During my months in Africa I had become part of the same story that my mother started when she spent time administering medical treatment to the natives of Papua New Guinea as a young woman, but suddenly my story didn't look like it was going to have such a happy ending."
“Now that I'm a grown woman living in California and pursuing a very different dream – as an actress and film producer – I know that the skinny white girl once so incongruous in Africa still lives on inside me. Even in this world where I'm supposed to belong, I still sometimes feel out of place. Whenever that happens, though, I try to remember a smiling gap-toothed child with HIV whose greatest joy was to sit on my lap and drink from a bottle of Coca-Cola. Zimba taught me many beautiful words but the one I like the most is Nsansa. Happiness."

It doesn't stop there. Someone somewhere thought it would be a good idea for Linton to spread her moronic colonialism to 290 full pages of paper. "In Congo's Shadow is the inspiring memoir of an intrepid teenager who abandoned her privileged life in Scotland to travel to Zambia as a gap year student where she found herself inadvertently caught up in the fringe of the Congolese War," reads a synopsis of her book. What's scarier is how positive the reviews were. That is until today, when Zambians caught wind of Linton's nonsense.

“Riddled with so many inaccuracies, geographical mistakes and self promoting accounts This is nothing but several movie plots interspaced with the delusions of a saviour complex. And then I read the author is an actress and director in Hollywood and it all made sense," said Mimi Lungu.

One Zambian reviewer by the name of Kabulonga wrote, “I have lived in Zambia all my life as has my family, we lived through some of Zambia's toughest times during the Zimbabwean independence struggle when camps were being attacked by Rhodesian forces and there were roadblocks everywhere maned by really twitchy Zambian armed forces. At no time ever has there been child soldiers with machetes on these or any roadblocks. Now they are manned by Zambian Police officers who are generally polite but I am no fool and people do get asked for bribes at these roadblocks and some people do pay but the roadblocks are generally not menacing.

Kabulonga continues, “I decided to buy the book and realised it has been written by a deluded naïve girl from a privileged background who has embellished a short stay in Africa and has felt she has to make her story fit a stereotyped idea the west has of Africa. Her real crime is she has tarnished the image of a very friendly people and a country that has a record of looking after refugees from most of it's neighbours right from the time of Independence."

On Twitter, Zambians and non-Zambians alike are calling Linton out for her lies.

“We now have a name for any untrue, harmful stereotype about Africa. It will be known as a LintonLie#LintonLies," tweeted Lydia Ngoma.

“This so called memoir can be summarised as 'Delusions of my savior complex with a hint of drama'," said Twitter user @_LadySith.

“The only thing missing from @LouiseLinton jungle caper was Tarzan swinging to her rescue," tweeted Masuka Mutenda.

Some wondered if the whole thing is a satire (it's not).

“Is this parody? Surely the world has had enough of white people's tales adventurism in #Africa," tweeted Simukai Chigudu.

“White Savior Complex on steroids. It has to be a parody, right?" asked Ryan Kohls.

We'll leave you with this reading of Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina's brilliant How to Write About Africa essay:

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The Best African Memes of 2018

Laugh with us into 2019 with OkayAfrica's best African memes of 2018.

Meme culture has become a mainstay on these internet streets. It's essentially an alternate form of communicating, of commentary and of simple laughter. 2018 had its fair share of highs and lows, and young Africans continue to utilize memes to celebrate or to cope with the nonsense.

To reflect on the African memes that broke the internet this year, we tapped contributors and African meme tastemakers to list the best African memes of 2018.

Laugh away below.

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The Black Women Who Made Big Strides in France in 2018

Yes, this was a bad year for many reasons, but we can still celebrate the black women who rose to prominence

Back in 2015, a group of Black women activists appeared in the French media: les afrofems. They were and still are, fighting against police brutality, for better inclusion in the media and to destroy harmful sexual stereotypes surrounding black women among other worthy goals. Since then, more influential Black women have gained a bigger representation in the media. And, even better, some of the afrofems activists, like Laura Nsafou and Amandine Gay, have made films and written books to bring more diversity to the entertainment industry.

2018 has, in many ways, been a year where black women made strides in France, at least in terms of culture. From winning Nobel prizes, to having best selling books and being on top of the charts, Black French women have showed that, no matter how much France wants to keep them under the radar, they're making moves. And, no matter the tragedies and terrible events that have shaped the year, it is something worth celebrating.

France's New Queen of Pop Music

We begin with Aya Nakamura, France's new queen of pop music. Her song Djadja was a summer hit. Everyone from Rihanna, to the French football team who successfully won their second world cup, sang it. Her sophomore album "Nakamura" has been certified gold in France and is still on top of the charts. She is the first French singer to have a number one album in the Netherlands since Edith Piaf in 1961. The last time a black woman was as visible in pop music was in 2004, with Lynsha's single "Hommes...Femmes".

Nakamura has received a huge backlash, mostly due to misogynoir—misogyny directed towards black women where race and gender both play roles. From a French presenter butchering her African first name despite the fact that he can easily pronounce words like "Aliagas", to online trolls calling her ugly and manly when a picture of her wearing no makeup surfaced, to people complaining that she is bringing down the quality of the entire French pop music industry, Nakamura responds to her critics gracefully. Her music is not groundbreaking but her album is full of catchy songs with lyrics using French slang she masters so well that she came up with her own words like "en catchana" (aka doggy style sex). And most importantly, many black girls and women can finally see someone like them in the media getting the success she deserves.

The Nobel Prize Winner

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Another Black French woman has broken records this year: the Guadeloupean writer Maryse Condé who won the Alternative Nobel Prize, a prize meant to replace the Nobel Prize in Literature, after the scandal that the Swedish Academy of Literature faced last year. Condé wrote her first novel at only 11 years old and has been prolific ever since. A former professor of French literature at Columbia University, she has published more than 20 books since the 1970s, exploring the complex relationships within the African diaspora. "Segu", her most famous novel, is about the impact of the slave trade and Abrahamic religion on the Bambara empire in Mali in the 19th century. Condé's work is radical and she remains committed to writing feminist texts exploring the link between gender, race and class, as well as exploring the impact of colonialism. Condé is a pillar of Caribbean literature and it's taken long enough for her work has been acknowledged by the Nobel prize committee.

The Children's Books Writers

From Comme un Million de Papillon Noir

And finally, 2018 has been the year where France's children's literature industry has finally understood how important, for the public, writers and publishers, being inclusive and diverse was. From Laura Nsafou's Comme un Million de Papillon Noir, a best selling book about a young black girl learning to love her natural hair which sold more than 6000 copies, to Neiba Je-sais-tout: Un Portable dans le Cartable, the second book of Madina Guissé published this year after a successful crowdfunding campaign, there are more and more children's and young adult books with non white protagonists. In France, there are still no stats about how diversity is doing, but in America, in 2017, only 7 percent of writers of children's literature were either Black, Latino or Native American.

There's still much to accomplish in France for the Black community to have better representation in the media, politics and all walks of life, but important strides have been accomplished this year, and it make me hopeful for what 2019 and the following years have in store.

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J Hus Has Been Sentenced to Eight Months in Jail for Knife Possession

The rapper has been convicted following an arrest in June.

Gambian-Biritish grime rapper J Hus has been sentenced to eight months in prison for knife possesion, reports BBC News.

The artist, neé Momodou Jallow, was arrested in Stratford London in June when police pulled him over near a shopping center, claming that they smelled cannabis. Police officers asked Hus if he was carrying anything illegal, to which the rapper admitted that he had a 10cm folding knife in his possession. When asked why, he responded: "You know, it's Westfield."

Hus pleaded guilty at a hearing in October after initially pleading not guilty.

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