The article in the Telegraph dated Friday 1 July, 2016 on Ms. Louise Linton’s “How my dream gap year in Africa turned into a nightmare,” remains deeply regrettable as it is based on a book that misrepresents Zambia, a country worldly known for its peace and stability.
Ms. Linton, a Scottish actress now living in Los Angeles, presented to the world a savagery Zambia at war in her memoirs “In Congo’s Shadow: One Girl’s Perilous Journey to the Heart of Africa.
Zambia, a country surrounded by eight (8) neighbouring countries in Southern Africa gained her independence from Britain on 24th October 1964 and has since remained the region’s Oasis of Peace. It has held peaceful elections each time with peaceful handover of power thus has proven to be a beacon of democracy and peace in the region and in Africa as a whole. It is a historic fact that Zambia has never been at war but rather has been home to thousands of Refugees fleeing wars from other African countries. It has served as a cradle of liberation to countries in Southern Africa as they fought for freedom, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Namibia among others. The Congo war in particular has never spilt into Zambia.
Zambia continues to host a lot of volunteers and charitable organisations from all over the world working in various areas of development, most of whom have had pleasant experiences and continue to hold fond memories of the country. Those that work in the area of HIV AIDS understand the need to respect confidentiality of the people they interact with. Clearly Ms. Linton does not seem to take this into consideration nor does she seem to understand that freedom of expression comes with responsibility.
The overwhelming condemnation of her falsified memoirs by both Zambians and friends of Zambia worldwide attest to the fact that many have seen through her intentions to tarnish the image of a very friendly people and a country that has a record of divine peace at the expense of attaining celebrity status and fame. We join many others who have taken time to condemn the stereotyping of Africa and Zambia in particular as a backward country, in a jungle, which thinking is not of the 21st Century. Therefore, such attempts by isolated individuals should not be encouraged.
We are consoled by the many people across the world that have had the Zambian experience and attest to the fact that Zambia remains one of Southern Africa’s favourite destinations for tourism and investment. This is attributed to its peace and tranquility as well as a favourable and growing economy for the past two decades. Above all Zambia’s Gem remains the friendliness and warmth of its people.
Press and Public Relations office of the Zambia High Commission.
London, Friday 09/07/10