Dear Ruth: A Lament for Africa by Pamela Cotton
I lost my heart to Africa, so this book about the dying days of the British Empire in Central Africa, the abolition of the colonial civil service, and the years that followed these events hold bittersweet memories.
Much of the text consists of letters I wrote to my friend Ruth while we were living through these dramatic changes. The story is seen through the eyes of my family who lived and lost the continent that had captivated us, followed by our travels in the Middle East and finally back to Britain. It is also about the people amongst whom I worked; the cheery, commonplace, indigenous inhabitants.
They knew little of the ways of the politicians or of the important decisions being made in London on their behalf. The people I knew, their smiles, pervading good humour and cheerfulness were an inspiration.
My tale, a personal record of this era, challenges the received wisdom of the politicians which appears in our history books nowadays with embellishments. I write from the perspective of those of us who were there, working with the ordinary people.
If I make bygone Africa sound idyllic it is because for me it was. It is good to remember a time when I felt I was helping to improve the lives of such open-hearted, attractive people.
Published 01 Jun 2009
OUT OF PRINT