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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:

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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