African nationalists speak the same language as congress leaders in any country; political leaders must reflect white domination as long as it remains: Generals China and Russia of the Mau Mau would not have been possible without Colonel Blimp. It sounds quite a lot of people from one point of view, if one tries to imagine the word million in terms of a crowd of people. Here is where the sun regulates living in a twelve-hour cycle. But now it is not Rhodesia where these reactionaries look down on people of other races overpay and under-educated themselves. It was a journey that was both personal - a revisiting of a land and people she knew - and, inevitably, political: Southern Rhodesia was now part of the Central African Federation, where the tensions between colonialism and self-determination were at their most deeply felt. I remember an old prospector came to our farm one evening when I was a child.
For a moment we shared the understanding of people who have been made by the same landscape. White youth shunned education as unnecessary, while Africans saw it as a possible salvation. Then, one evening, walking across the park, the light welded buildings, trees and scarlet buses into something familiar and beautiful, and I knew myself to be at home. In her early adult years she was an active communist. He philosophizes; goes on long trips into the bush with his African servant to whom he feels himself closer than to any other human being and to whom he tells everything; half-believes in God; knows that all governments are bad; and plans one day to buy a crater in the Belgian Congo or an uninhabited island in the Pacific where at last he can live the natural life.
And in the person of Levin one finds the decent worried white liberal who is drawn by the reserves of strength, the deep humanity of the African, but yet does not trust him to govern himself. One of the reasons why I wanted to return was because so many people had asked me how it was I had been brought up in a colour-bar country and yet had no feeling about colour. I have notebooks full of stories, plots, anecdotes, which at one time or another I was impelled to write. Fifty years on, Britain is probably cosy and provincial, and the snobberies are still rife. White youth shunned education as unnecessary, while Africans saw it as a possible salvation. And they are likely to go down to defeat as a nation in the black-white struggle supported by a proud consciousness of being misunderstood by the world in the nobility of their motives. I said yes, and the Kalahari, too.
But it was surely impossible that I should be entirely unlike other people brought up in the same way. That was the story as we heard it from a group of young men travelling through our farm on their way to find work in the gold mines of the Rand. But what I did find was that while I am immune to colour feeling as such, I was sensitive to social pressures. Going Home evokes brilliantly the experience of thepeople, black and white, who have shaped and will shape a beloved country. I remember every word, for he made a great impression on me.
The Kalahari and the Karroo are stages nearer desert of the highveld, full of bitter shrubs, cacti, lizards and hot stones. An enormous, under-populated, under-developed, unformed country, still agricultural in feeling and resisting industrialization. The two Africans sat in the restaurant at a table by themselves. On the contrary, they demanded the maintenance of racially differentiated pay rates. So trade unions spent much of their time making sure that companies hired their quota of higher paid, white labour. That is the century when we recovered the right to find out what we are. In recent times, it has become just a workbook to support my research on Philippine education.
In Going Home she observes a society that had to collapse under the weight of its unsustainable contradictions. But now, via a blog, I want to recreate what it used to be, a place where scraps of impressions are filed for future reflection. . But now, steadily flying south for hour after hour, one sees forest, mountain and lake; river and gorge and swamp; and the great reaches of the flat, tree-belted grassland. On an aeroplane in Northern Rhodesia I sat next to a young Afrikaner flying back home.
I dare say this is not an original thought, but it came as a shock to me. Going home, she turned herself into a journalist, partly because a journalist has greater opportunities than ordinary tourists for seeing what goes on; and partly because she had never been a journalist, and wanted to see what it was like. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007. Her family was living in Persia at the time of her birth but moved to a farm in Southern Rhodesia now , where she lived from age five until she settled in in 1949. And yet—the stale patterns of white domination still exist.
From the library of publisher Tom Maschler. But in thinking of the future rather than the bitter present, I believe I am one with the Africans themselves, who show their superiority to colour bars by their joyfulness, their good humour and their delight in living. And they are very alike. A point raised by Lessing herself in the epilogue written 11 years after the main body of text. It is the variegated light of London which creates it; at night, the mauvish wet illumination of the city sky; or the pattern of black shadow-leaves on a wall; or, when the sun emerges, the instant gaiety of a pavement. While the South Africans over the border created honorary whites of the Japanese they increasingly had to do business with, the Rhodesians went through their own equally idiotic contortions.