A story of Africa
(Approx 112,000 words)
By George Macpherson
In 1961 newly-independent Tanzania is set for change – Africans are taking power, They intend to raise people out of poverty, combat witchcraft and stamp out corruption. A few disgruntled whites are leaving for Rhodesia and South Africa. Other more dedicated ex-patriates stay on. In the villages little has changed in half a century but newcomers from Europe and Asia are arriving in this tropical setting of contrasting lifestyles, keen to contribute. They have a lot to learn about ‘maendeleo’ – development.
Two young people from contrasting backgrounds become entangled in this melange of language, work and cultures. Charles Johnson, product of a typically English public school is, despite his veneer of confidence and boyish enthusiasm, still unsure of who he is or what he wants from life. Leaving his first love, Carol Libby, in England has been a wrench but they both know that his restless nature needs wider vistas than those offered by a Cornish fishing village.
In Northern China, Yi Zhang Li is training as an anthropologist. Her interest in prehistoric wall paintings leads to her to help plan a railway from Dar es Salaam to Zambia.
She has much to lose if she fails to uphold Communist Party principles but her natural charm and classical beauty ensure her acceptance amongst villagers, officials and fellow workers.
One person who desperately seeks her attention and approval is Charles. To Zhang Li he appears to be a conceited young ‘foreign devil’.
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