Drawn in Colour: African Contrasts

Drawn in Colour: African Contrasts

Drawn in Colour: African Contrasts

Drawn in Colour: African Contrasts


THE CABLE arrived for me in London from South Africa. It was from my father, about my only brother, Tengo, twenty-six years old, reading medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The week before, I had had a letter from him outlining plans he was making for when he would qualify in a few months' time. My sister and I hoped he would take a holiday abroad after the long years of training, stay with her in Uganda, East Africa, where she had married and gone to live, then come on to stay with me in London where I had married and lived. He would thus see both countries of his sisters' adoption. He was the youngest of the three of us, the only son, and it was some time since we had all seen one another.

But on March 8th, a young messenger boy whistled up to my house, stamped jauntily on the steps and rubbing his fingers to keep warm while waiting for a possible answer to the message he delivered:


Before this I had always travelled between the Cape and England by sea, so to fly thousands of miles down the length of Africa was for me to see the size of my country for the first time; and as I looked down, the sight stirred the imagination far more than I had somehow expected it would.

But as the plane flew on and Africa unfolded below, that bizarre message jostled in my mind not letting my impressions develop as they would under more normal circumstances.

Now we were leaving the Rhodesias, were on the final lap to Johannesburg.

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