Friday, April 12, 2013

Africa: The Silent, Brooding Sister

Illustration credit: Marina Zlochin

Africa is never the same to anyone who leaves it and returns again. It is not a land of change, but it is a land of moods and its moods are numberless. It is not fickle, but because it has mothered not only men, but races, and cradled not only cities, but civilizations -- and seen them die, and seen new ones born again -- Africa can be dispassionate, indifferent, warm, or cynical, replete with the weariness of too much wisdom.

Today Africa may seem to be that ever-promised land, almost achieved; but tomorrow it may be a dark land again, drawn into itself, contemptuous, and impatient with the futility of eager men who have scrambled over it since the experiment of Eden. In the family of continents, Africa is the silent, the brooding sister, courted for centuries by knight-errant empires -- rejecting them one by one and severally, because she is too sage and a little bored with the importunity of it all.

                                                     ----Beryl Markham
                                                          West With the Night (1942)


  1. Great quote! I really like your blog.

    1. Lark, thanks for your kind words. Glad you have been stopping by. I hope to review Ms. Markham's book soon. I am almost finished reading it. Quite a tale.

    2. I enjoyed West With the Night. Beryl Markham lived quite a life. Have you read her biography Straight On Til Morning? It's a good read, too.

    3. No, I haven't read anything else about Ms. Markham. I will have to give this biography a try.