By Doris Lessing

A hugely own tale of the eminent British author returning to her African roots that's "brilliant . . . [and] captures the contradictions of a tender country."--New York occasions booklet Review

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Additional resources for African Laughter: Four Visits to Zimbabwe

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He transferred to BEA in September 190544 and stayed for seven years as a government medical officer based successively in Mombasa, Nakuru and Fort Hall. He wrote an influential 1911 report on sanitation in Mombasa, which earned him government praise. 46 His later life, while a GP in Derbyshire, was devoted to writing and activism. Leys devoted a chapter of his first book Kenya – which he had been planning since 1911 – to the story of the Maasai moves and court case and what led up to them. His major problem, as Wylie has pointed out, was the lack of official data to back up his claims about the effects of administrative policy upon the Maasai, or any other accurate facts and figures for Kenya.

33 But when describing informants’ origins, I shall use their preferred terms; for example, the Il-Laikipiak (more properly Il-Aikipiak) is an extinct section said to have been wiped out by a combined force of Purko-Kisongo warriors in the mid-1870s, yet many individuals continue to claim that Introduction 15 they are Ol-Aikipiani. There is growing Laikipiak nationalist sentiment in this community on Laikipia today. The non-governmental organisation Osiligi (Organization for Survival of Il-Laikipiak Indigenous Maasai Group Initiatives), one of the groups involved in making land-reparations claims against Britain in 2004, was created expressly in order to champion Laikipiak interests.

In his published writings, and in other private correspondence, Leys never fully revealed his role in what may be called the Maasai affair. 26 The Harvey Letters supply some of the missing parts of the puzzle. Most importantly, they retrieve this episode from the flames: in an apparent fit of despair towards the end of his life, Leys burned his large correspondence on African and imperial matters. The few letters that remain are all the more valuable for that. 27 The few available Maasai texts may be written from a Maasai viewpoint, but are not necessarily more accurate as history.

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