Looking for Lovedu: Days and Nights in Africa

Ann Jones, Author Alfred A. Knopf $25 (288p) ISBN 978-0-375-40554-9
Faced with the hardships of trans-African travel on a shoestring budget, how long can two ill-matched travelers maintain a cooperative relationship? According to adventure writer Jones, about as far as Zaire. Jones (Women Who Kill, etc.) and her companion, a brawny and intrepid British photographer, resolve to cross the African continent in a souped-up Land Rover, ostensibly on a mission to find the legendary Lovedu tribe of southern Africa. The Lovedu are organized as a matriarchal monarchy; their queen is a rainmaking, peace-loving diplomat. Jones's curiosity about the feminist society increases even as her companion grows more obsessed with the challenges of transit--greedy border guards, blistering heat, car trouble. She finds herself subject to the whims of a ""petrol head,"" whose only interest is to press on across the deserts, mudslides and ravines that stand between him and the finish line. In Kenya, Jones frees herself of this masculine ballast and proceeds to Loveduland with female companions. Her account of her high-speed odyssey affords a startling glimpse of modern Africa; its conclusion in the woods of Loveduland gives the lighthearted exploit a deeper significance. Already at an age that most African women will not live to see, Jones is both a dauntless adventurer and a wise observer. Charming and well written, her story should be popular with readers interested in a woman's perspective on African exploration. (Jan. 30)
Reviewed on: 01/01/2001
Release date: 01/01/2001
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-375-70533-5
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