Sun, April 05

South Africa a treasure trove of memories, new authors

Cheryl Yeatts pictured at the entrance of Victoria Falls Public Library, Zimbabwe. This library was established in 1998.

Cheryl Yeatts pictured at the entrance of Victoria Falls Public Library, Zimbabwe. This library was established in 1998.

My dream of visiting Africa became a reality when my husband and I recently traveled to South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. Since coming home, I cannot stop thinking about our adventure. I keep the memories alive by reading books about these special places. In this article, I’ll share some of my current favorites.

I discovered an author named Tony Park at a bookstore in Johannesburg. Even though he is Australian, Park researches and writes his novels while on location in Africa. Most of his books are mysteries/thrillers that deal with the serious problem of poaching, especially of rhinos and elephants.

I think you will enjoy reading the following titles by this author: “Ivory,” “Red Earth,” and “The Delta.”

After touring Robben Island and seeing the tiny cell where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for eighteen years, I decided to read “Long Walk to Freedom.” Written in Mandela’s own words, he tells how he came from humble beginnings to change a nation and the world.

Our next stop was Zimbabwe. I learned more about the rich and colorful history of this country, formerly Southern Rhodesia and Rhodesia, after reading two books: “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight,” by Alexandra Fuller, and “When the African Bus Came Down,” a memoir by Elaine Bosman. You may recognize Elaine Bosman’s name because she used to live in the Village.

Elaine is a wonderful storyteller who offers insights about living in Rhodesia. Delightful illustrations by Paul Bosman, Elaine’s husband, add a special touch to her memoir.

Spending time in Botswana brought Alexander McCall Smith’s series about Mma Precious Ramotswe, owner of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, to life. I like listening to the audiobooks because of the melodic voices of the characters.

There are 20 books in the series, with the latest title — “To the Land of Long Lost Friends” — scheduled for release in October. If you are interested in reading this series, start with the first book, “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.”

You may be familiar with Delia Owens as the author of the number one best-selling novel “Where the Crawdads Sing.” However, you may not know that she has a degree in zoology and spent several decades studying elephants, lions, and brown hyenas in remote areas of Botswana and Zambia. She earned her Ph.D. in animal behavior from the University of California in Davis and co-authored three nonfiction books with Mark Owens, her husband. I highly recommend “Cry of the Kalahari” and “Secrets of the Savanna.” These books contain wonderful photographs that capture their time in Africa.

All titles mentioned in this article are available from the Yavapai Library Network. If you need assistance placing a hold, please contact the Library. 

Like Kuki Gallmann, author of “I Dreamed of Africa,” I still dream of Africa. If you enjoy traveling as much as I do, please share your adventures the next time you visit the Library.

Safe journeys.

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