Monday, November 14, 2011

.."I had a Farm in Africa at the foot of Ngong Hills".....

The past 8 yrs both my Birthday & Christmas parties have focused on exploring the Food,Music and Culture of countries around the World.This year is no different.We will go on _YET_another imaginary journey_an "African Safari" this Christmas! In my quest as always to make the trip authentic,I've drawn upon two of my favorite books and the movie adaptations to shed light on the second largest continent in landmass_Africa.

"Out of Africa"(1985) was nominated for 11 Academy* Awards,winning 7 in 1986.It was based upon Isak Dinesen(aka Baroness Karen Von Blixen-Finecke,birth name) recounting events of the 17 years living on her coffee farm in Kenya.She moved there in 1913 at the age of 28 to marry her second cousin_the Swedish Baron_Bror Von Blixen-Finecke.Well,at least  Karen didn't have to change her last name_as it was the same! Interestingly,Bror's twin brother Hans was her intended groom but their relationship didn't work out..really! The book and movie recount so many aspects of Colonial Life in "British East Africa"(aka Kenya).The British as you know owned the World at that was all about the dollars & cents...come in take over the natives land_make a fortune.Not unlike,America's history...just sayin'!

The Kikuyu tribe was the most populous ethnic group from that Region.I have great "ISSUES" with their history as it seems since the MEN were the great Warriors of the land,strutting their stuff,all painted up,manly man stuff...WINNING!!! While the Women had to do all the hard labor,building roofs for houses,clearing the weeds,taking care of the households,balancing large items on their heads,having plenty of babies, were the Prima Uomo (aka) Donna! I've seen the movie several times,what's not to like about a Robert Redford/Meryl Streep match up_presently reading Isak's biography.

"The Flame Trees of Thika"(1980) chronicles the life of Elspeth Joscelin Huxley (husband Gevais Huxley,grandson of Thomas Huxley,advocate of Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution;and cousin to Aldous Huxley,Author of Brave New World)..that's a mouthful! Anyway,Elspeth arrived in Colonial Kenya,moving to the area called Thika in 1912 at the age of 5 yrs old. A "Flame Tree" turns entirely reddish orange in June each year depending upon previous rainfall. She left in 1925 returning periodically.Later,becoming the Associated Press Officer of the Empire Marketing Board (Trade Board).The movie won 3 BAFTA** Awards in 1982.I loved Haley Mills in the movie! I'm reading the book now & what a delightful story!

The area in question for you "Geography Buffs" is :

Kenya,home of Mt.Kenya (highest mountain in Kenya & second in Africa)_where tea and coffee are the best cash crops. I was introduced to Kenyan Tea when I started my tea business many years ago.The tea has a natural taste of chocolate_the taste is attributed to the volcanic ash deposited many thousands of years ago...very delicious cuppa tea! No wonder the Brits were coming to town! Great picture of tea growing...

So,I'll keep y'all posted on this great adventure as it unfolds on December 4th,"An African Safari Christmas Party"!!

*Academy Awards_America founded 1929
**BAFTA Awards(British Academy of Film & TV)_England founded 1947
Beginning line of book & movie of "Out of Africa"...I had a farm in Africa....

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