Wednesday 26 July 2017

People are accusing this writer of lying in her 'Gap Year in Africa' memoir

Louise Linton attends GREY GOOSE Le Martini et Vous evening at Devils Advocate on July 16, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Martin Grimes/Getty Images for Grey Goose)
Louise Linton attends GREY GOOSE Le Martini et Vous evening at Devils Advocate on July 16, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Martin Grimes/Getty Images for Grey Goose)
Louise Linton. Photo: Getty

Sasha Brady

A woman's memoir about her 'Gap Year in Africa' has sparked outrage online with people claiming her story is full of lies.

A Twitterstorm is brewing over Louise Linton's memoir, In Congo's Shadow: One Girl's Perilous Journey to the Heart of Africa.

An abridged version of the book appeared in The Telegraph last Friday, titled: 'How my dream gap year in Africa turned into a nightmare' and it raised a few eyebrows.

Readers began to notice a few discrepancies in the story, along with plenty of “white saviour in Africa” cliches.

Louise Linton / Via
Louise Linton / Via

As an 18-year-old, the Scottish actress had flown to the African nation, hoping to help some of "the world’s poorest people".

She writes about “brutal tales of rape and murder”, “close encounters with lions” and helping a “smiling gap-toothed child with HIV” with whom she formed a "special bond" and "whose greatest joy was to sit on my lap and drink from a bottle of Coca-Cola".

Despite being in Zambia, Linton claims she was a “central character” in the Congolese war of the late 1990s – living in fear of what the rebels from across the border “would do to the ‘skinny white muzungu with long angel hair’”.

The reaction on social media was one of outrage and people were quick to call her out with the hashtag #LintonLies.













One Zambian reviewer by the name of Kabulonga wrote, “I have lived in Zambia all my life as has my family, we lived through some of Zambia’s toughest times during the Zimbabwean independence struggle when camps were being attacked by Rhodesian forces and there were roadblocks everywhere maned by really twitchy Zambian armed forces.

"At no time ever has there been child soldiers with machetes on these or any roadblocks. Now they are manned by Zambian Police officers who are generally polite but I am no fool and people do get asked for bribes at these roadblocks and some people do pay but the roadblocks are generally not menacing."

Louise Linton. Photo: Getty
Louise Linton. Photo: Getty

Kabulonga continues, “I decided to buy the book and realised it has been written by a deluded naïve girl from a privileged background who has embellished a short stay in Africa and has felt she has to make her story fit a stereotyped idea the west has of Africa.

"Her real crime is she has tarnished the image of a very friendly people and a country that has a record of looking after refugees from most of it’s neighbours right from the time of Independence.”

Another reader, Mimi Lungu, said:“Riddled with so many inaccuracies, geographical mistakes and self promoting accounts This is nothing but several movie plots interspaced with the delusions of a saviour complex. And then I read the author is an actress and director in Hollywood and it all made sense."

Linton has since gone on to apologise for causing offence with her story: "I am genuinely dismayed and very sorry to see that I have offended people as this was the very opposite of my intent," she wrote on Twitter.

"I wrote with the hope of conveying my deep humility, respect and appreciation for the people of Zambia as an 18yr old in 1999."

She added: "I wrote about the country’s incredible beauty and my immense gratitude for the experiences I had there.

"Sorry he was mistaken. It was 1999, 3 years prior to 2002 and I was never posted at Ndole. The angel hair is what the children said, not me."

Louise Linton / Via
Louise Linton / Via

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