This woman's "gap yah" story angered an entire country
A woman who wrote about her gap year in Zambia has faced an online backlash, with many Zambians accusing her of making the whole thing up.
Scottish actress Louise Linton wrote a book titled "In Congo's Shadow: One Girl's Perilous Journey to the Heart of Africa" about her gap yah in Zambia.
When an extract of the book was published in the Telegraph many Zambians accused her of writing a purely fictional tale, mainly because of passages such as:
"As the night ticked interminably by, I tried not to think what the rebels would do to the 'skinny white muzungu with long angel hair’ if they found me. Clenching my jaw to stop my teeth chattering, I squeezed my eyes shut and reminded myself how I’d come to be a central character in this horror story."
And her account of one little "smiling gap-toothed child with HIV" named Zimba, and her greatest joy...
"Now that I’m a grown woman living in California and pursuing a very different dream – as an actress and film producer – I know that the skinny white girl once so incongruous in Africa still lives on inside me. Even in this world where I’m supposed to belong, I still sometimes feel out of place. Whenever that happens, though, I try to remember a smiling gap-toothed child with HIV whose greatest joy was to sit on my lap and drink from a bottle of Coca-Cola. Zimba taught me many beautiful words but the one I like the most is Nsansa. Happiness."
She also recounted taking cover in the jungle from Hutu and Tutsi forces from the Congo...
As monsoon season came and went, the Hutu-Tutsi conflict in neighbouring Congo began to escalate and then spill over into Zambia with repercussions all along the lake. Thousands of people were displaced and we heard brutal tales of rape and murder.
Within days the rebels came again. This time, I had no choice but to flee alone in a desperate attempt to stay alive. For hours on end, I remained on the jungle floor with no idea if I would make it or if any of the people I had come to love would survive.
Two hours had passed - maybe three. I couldn’t tell. The dense jungle canopy above me had eliminated what little moonlight there was and plunged me into inky blackness deep in the Zambian bush.
Even though, as people pointed out, there are no jungles as she describes them in Zambia, nor a monsoon season, and the Hutu-Tutsi conflict took place in Rwanda, not the Congo. She also spoke of encounters with lions and 12inch rain spiders, which are actually 3inches big.
@TeleWonderWomen "the dense jungle canopy above me"? Zambia has savanna grasslands, not dense jungle. But i guess "English girl experience". — Maambo (@TwentyKwacha) July 4, 2016
How my dream gap year in Africa turned into a nightmare --- I wish I could reach through this article and slap her. https://t.co/FDV9q9XRqg— pam (@pamnonga) July 4, 2016
The part people found the weirdest was that she said people called her the "skinny white muzungu with long angel hair".
And her dreams of "teaching the villagers English or educating them about the world".
Whilst the hashtag LintonLies started trending, created by people who think she's lying...
Ugh. Do people still think we don't have internet in Africa? In the 'jungle'. That we'll never read what they write about us. #LintonLies— Sithé Annette Ncube (@_LadySith) July 4, 2016
Zimba took to Twitter to verify Linton's story...
I will never forget the generous gift of Coke Lite that has sustained my family till I was ready for marriage #LintonLies— Zimba (@LittleZimba) July 5, 2016
Before a fellow Scottish person took to twitter to apologise, and explain why this may have happened...
Hi Zambians, sorry on behalf of Scotland and Edinburgh, she went to the same school as Tony Blair so it makes sense #LintonLies— Eleanor Morton (@EleanorMorton) July 4, 2016
But that hasn't placated Zambian writer Muchemwa Sichone, who tweeted:
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