Lollipops of Dust

ISBN 1-84683-110-5
memoir
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by Susan Read-Lobo


Memories of an Colonial Childhood in the Bechuanaland Protectorate (now Botswana) 1955-66

In this engaging memoir, Susan Read-Lobo tells the story of her childhood years in Africa, which began in 1955, when she and her family left England for a new life in the Bechuanaland Protectorate, where her father took up a post as a District Commissioner – a job he retained until the country gained independence and became Botswana in 1966.

Her early years, spent in the remote Kalahari Desert, allowed Susan to experience the region at first-hand, when it was still wild and unspoilt, and her reminiscences of the African scenery, wildlife and people that she came to know, reveal a deep and lasting affection.

But her recollections are tinged with uneasiness at the knowledge that she was part, albeit innocently, of the colonial system and by her unhappy memories of her later childhood years when she was sent away to boarding school in South Africa, making this a bitter/sweet account that perfectly expresses the mixed feelings of many who grew up in Africa during the colonial era.

Those who shared similar experiences will doubtless recognise themselves in her reminiscences whilst other readers will find them a fascinating insight into a strange and unfamiliar landscape and a bygone period of British history.

Author's introduction

This book is a nostalgic amble back to an Africa that ceased to exist long ago, seen through the eyes of the child I once was. It is a story of a little girl taken from England at the age of two and a half to the Kalahari region of The Bechuanaland Protectorate, today known as Botswana, where my father was offered a job in the British colonial service in the 1950s.

It is a bitter-sweet journey, reflecting my mixed feelings about the colonial era I was unwittingly part of but also celebrating my affection for Africa as a whole and the Kalahari in particular – a place of vivid contrasts, of timeless natural life and endless silences. This is my homage to its great beauty and its even greater people.

So, dear readers, if you would like to peek into the past and visit the Africa I grew up in – an Africa that didn’t belong to me but which I took as mine, to do with what I wanted – I invite you to keep me company on my journey back into childhood – a childhood of wild animals, witchcraft, magic, adventure, laughter and tears.

Details softback | 140 x 205 mm | 190 pages | mono photos