Africa revisited.

31 Aug

When the British explorer David Livingstone died in 1873 in Rhodesia, the British government sent a request to the African tribe he was with when he died for his body, in order to give it a full burial in Westminster Abbey with full honours. After a period of refusal, the tribe ultimately relented after cutting out his heart, and the body went back to Britain with the note:

‘You can have his body, but his heart belongs in Africa.’

It’s been nearly a year since I left Africa, and I understand the sentiment. A little of a year ago, I was in a hospital bed with a bout of malaria and dysentery, feeding wild monkeys, teaching Ghanaians proper condom use, eating banku and fufu, surfing poorly in the Gulf of Guinea, showering in waterfalls, doing practically everything I ever dreamed of, and since I left I have thought of little else. I’m travelling to other places, New York, Sydney, the Far East, but I doubt that these places, whilst fantastic in their own right, will hold a candle to Africa.

I even plan which African countries I want to go to next: Sierra Leone, Senegal, Tanzania, Dem. Rep. Congo, Zimbabwe…

I’m not going to try to describe the best continent on earth. My words would be fruitless. Just, make sure you manage to visit this place, but make sure you visit the heart of Africa, the places with the beating red soil south of the Sahara, where you drink palm wine and listen to folklore from wise elders, where electricity is a luxury and bucket showers and pit toilets the norm, and you’ll get my point. I promise.


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