Rica Hodgson: “foot soldier for freedom”, friend and hero

Ruth HartleyAfrica, apartheid, Freedom Fighters, South Africa, Writing, Zambia7 Comments

Rica Hodgson — the freedom fighter who rescued me 52 years ago This post is harder to write than I expected. I was at my desk and about to write Rica a letter when I learnt that she had died. It was not unanticipated. She was 97 and had been in frail health for a while. I had only just […]

The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Colonialism, Displacement, Family, Migration, Politics, Race, Racism, ZambiaLeave a Comment

New Year in another country On New Year’s Day we fled from France across the snow-covered Pyrenees pursued by stormy winds and heavy rain. There we wandered along empty twisting roads among ruined and isolated stone villages and ancient monasteries in the  brutal mountains of Spanish Aragon. In our hotel room the television showed no news and told no stories […]

Mythological me – images from a memoir of childhood

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Colonialism, Family, Imagination, Race7 Comments

For a child, facts are fantastical and fantasy, factual Somewhere in my infancy, there is a thick green privet hedge, clipped and trimmed to right-angled perfection. It encloses a perfectly square empty space brimful of desolation. It contains no house, no people live there and it is nameless. Its eternal position is located somewhere inside the fortnight when my mythical […]

Driving back over my childhood

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Displacement, Family, Poetry1 Comment

Going home to Zimbabwe Because of the unexpected changes in Zimbabwe last week I am posting two poems – one from 1980 when I returned to my father’s farm, and another from 1961 my last year at school. Ford Laser speeds up the dual highway. (Commercial break) Camera pans back to parents. Airport to homecoming – half an hour and […]

Love Stories, World Wars, Armistice Day & why I wrote The Tin Heart Gold Mine

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Books, Migration, Mining, Politics, The Tin Heart Gold Mine, War, Zambia7 Comments

Today 11.11.2017 is Armistice Day. Next year is the centenary of the end of World War One. On that day the German East African army was undefeated. It only surrendered on 25.11.1918 two weeks later. The surrender was signed in Zambia at Mbala (Abercorn),- check out the website – all those fascinating facts link to The Tin Heart Gold Mine […]