• Louise Linton gave us something to talk about by deciding to lie about the great country of Zambia. Like most of the misinformed “saviours”, she pretended Africa was a country, a country “rife with hidden danger” too. The preposterous assertions are found in her memoir which should not be taken seriously at all. A parody, at best, is what it is. In her memoir (In Congo’s Shadow: One girl’s perilous journey to the heart of Africa), she plays the innocent protagonist and Africa, the villainous land with “random acts of violence”, malaria and “close encounters with lions, elephants, crocodiles and snakes”. Her fictitious work which has been called out by many Zambians for its lack of truths is interestingly regarded as a work based on a true story. The Telegraph has been called to take down the article by the Association of African Journalists & Writers.

    The unrealistic adventures of Linton

    Louise Linton, a former pupil of the prestigious Fettes College grew up in the outskirts of Edinburgh, Scotland. In her gap year, she went to Zambia to volunteer at a commercial fishing lodge in Zambia but according to her, she “inadvertently found herself caught up in the fringes of the Congolese War.

    She says, “Gunshots echoed through the bush and seemed to be getting closer. I couldn’t imagine the awful, sporadic acts of violence that were being committed as the village was ransacked. Fear and anger for the children consumed my thoughts.”

    Yes, it was her, the “skinny white muzungu with long angel hair” who was so consumed with thoughts of the children’s safety while the African rebels went about their savagery of shooting and killing. How convenient! In her account, she also has encounters with the jungle’s potentially lethal creatures that include spiders as big as twelve inches across. What a courageous 18 year old Africa hosted! She even says she had found comfort in her bond with one Zimba, a six year old orphan girl with HIV who called her “Ru-eese”. Have we not now grown tired of these stories of white saviours who save Africans from themselves? Linton feeds right into that need of foreigners to serve and save Africa even if it is at the expense of facts.

    The Backlash

    The factual inaccuracies in the “Angel-hair memoir” are glaring and rather repulsive. Many Africans have taken to micro-blogging site, Twitter to air their disapproval under the #LintonLies tag. A parody account ridiculing Linton has been opened under the handle @LittleZimba. One tweet says, “I will never forget the generous gift of Coke Lite that has sustained my family till I was ready for marriage.” This is in reference to Linton’s memoir record of Zimba “whose greatest joy was to sit on my lap and drink from a bottle of Coca-cola”. Some tweets also take issue with how she exposed Zimba’s HIV status while others call her out for her “Monsoon season” claims in a landlocked Southern African country nowhere close to South Asia. Her claim to have been caught in the middle of a Hutu and Tutsi conflict that spilled into Zambia is also refuted. Some Zambians even went as far as calling for the Minister of Information, Chishimba Kambwili to issue a statement and ask the Scottish Government to apologise for the misrepresentation of Zambia. Linton attempts to paint an image of a country consumed by violence and war yet such academics as Mcleans Mzumara studying with the Bindura University of Science Education in Zimbabwe have dedicated whole researches to finding the reason why Zambia maintains peace in the face of much adversity. What then is Linton’s point? All she manages to do is document fallacy after fallacy and unwittingly stretch on that pattern for 190 pages. Okay Africa’s Alyssa Klein calls Linton a delusional white woman and the memoir “the dumbest, most egregious piece of writing on Africa of the 21st century”. Such harsh comments when understood in the context of how much Louise Linton’s work smears Zambia’s and the greater continent’s name start to sound unusually polite.

    Louise Linton has been called out for her fictitious Messianic façade but so many other celebrities and Western figures get away with their patronising ways. They have to be warned. Thank Scotland for Linton because we now have a name for the false-Saviour ways of Western visitors: Linton Lies. Instead of treating the whole continent like a charity case, we expect tourists and so called volunteers to come and enjoy the diversity of our countries without pretending we are a savage people doomed without their intervention. Enough of the Linton lies!


    Image by Telegraph