Out of Africa, a Book, A Movie, A Connection
With a profound love of Africa, and for love stories, one of my favorites is Out of Africa, the book published in 1937, a true story by Danish Baroness Karen Blixen/pen name Isak Dinesen. This is a beautifully written memoir about her life as a coffee plantation owner during the seventeen years she lived in East Africa.
Several years ago I had the pleasure of visiting her house just outside Nairobi. (see photos below).
Love of Africa, the love between a man and a woman, along with the most amazing descriptions of life outside of Nairobi, Kenya in the early 20th century touched me on many levels, as did a final tragic circumstance. Consider me a lover of love stories and, as most everyone knows, I love Africa!
How can we ever forget the movie Out of Africa with its two main characters portrayals by Meryl Streep and Robert Redford? Not only was their love story tantalizing, but the visuals of wild animals and beautiful savannas epitomize my fascination with this part of the world, and their love story was the icing on the cake.
This true story goes like this…
Baroness Blixen, a Danish woman, moved to Kenya in East Africa to be married to someone she didn’t love (out of fear of being single for her lifetime). She moved from Denmark to just outside of Nairobi, Africa in 1913 where she and her husband-to-be wed. Soon thereafter her wealthy husband purchased a coffee plantation.
Her joys being with the Kenyan people were many. But so were her struggles as she dealt with the trials and tribulations of an absentee husband who is unfaithful, a fire destroying her coffee crop, and with the true love of her life the illusive free-spirited hunter and an adventurer.
Tragedy struck Karen’s life in Africa. Not only did she lose her one true love in a sudden plane crash, but she also went bankrupt due to that fire. To make matters worse, she was forced to return to her homeland of Denmark in 1931 to treat syphilis transferred to her from her unfaithful husband. It is also believed she never got over the death of her lover. So abrupt, so sudden and so permanent.
Karen never returned to Africa.
Why do I feel a deep connection to this story? First of all, I love Africa as Karen did. Secondly, a tragedy of pure love also struck my life when a person I loved dearly was taken away from me unexpectedly and instantly. The death of my beloved father from a stroke, killing him in hours, was a tragedy. My age… just eight years old.
There was no chance to say goodbye.
To this day, I feel the loss of my very kind and loving father. This was a tragedy of gigantic proportions. So abrupt! So Sudden! Daddy is never far from my thoughts. My feelings for him embody a never-ending love story.
On a positive note, happily, we will have plans to return to Africa.
Whatever tragedies come along in life…travel is one adventure that does one’s heart good and provides a big and exciting boost, a remedy from sadness. A happy and fulfilling diversion, no matter what is happening or has happened.
What do you think?