cc- photo by Stringer Bel
Sierra Leone hosts hundreds of miles of pristine beach nestled against the cobalt water of the Atlantic Ocean.
Who knew, right? Check out Tribewanted for more details. It’s on my bucket list!
My stories set in Africa are set firmly in the present, but the country’s rich history intrigues me! Let’s step back in time for a moment and discover a bit about ancient Zimbabwe.
In the eleventh century the Shona people began work on an elaborate city and palace for its royalty. Rock upon rock they stacked the earth five meters high in some places. After its abandon in the fourteenth century the city feel to ruin, but was adopted as a national monument know as Great Zimbabwe and hailed as a symbol of achievement for the African people.
I adore a good painting. Heck, even a bad one. Did you know Zimbabwe is home to over fifteen thousand known rock art sites. Dating back nearly two thousand years many of the depictions of primitive man and beast are protected in reserves.
These two are on my bucket list. How about yours?
After our stint in the Wild West, it’s back to Africa.
Zimbabwean music ranges from Reggae to Gospel and hits most every style in between. But nearly every one can trace its roots to the folk music of the country’s early inhabitants who’s musical prowess centered around the hosho, mbira and ngoma drum.
Well kids, we’ve talked about the cowboy’s horse, art, music and food. What’s left? The land! The Wild West!
Here is an interesting article written by J. Wisniewski and Kevin Nakamura about five myths of the Wild West.
And here are a few eye-candy pictures of the landscape. Enjoy!
More than a mile wide the Zambezi River careens off the side of the earth, falling more than three hundred feet, slowly carving the basalt plateau in Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe. Ancient stone artifacts dating back two million years to the time of Homo habilis have been catalogued by its shores.
Zimbabwe is home to countless species including the ever popular elephant, rhinoceros, lion, cheetah, wildebeest and hyena. But did you know, in this country even the birds are outrageously beautiful?
My short story in the Wild at Heart Anthology benefiting Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Eureka Springs, AR, Fierce Wild, takes place near Matusadona National Park. Below is an example of the eclectic mix of creatures it protects. Enjoy!
I know I said our cultural adventures would begin in March, but I’m in the why wait kind of mood. So, our fun begins in Africa.
Where in the world is Zimbabwe?
Considered located in Eastern Africa, but more often referred to as Southern Africa, Zimbabwe only gained its independence in 1980. Which means it’s only one year older than me, making it a very young country. Some of its main exports are tobacco, alloys, cotton, sugar beet/cane and diamonds. Tourism is also a major economic source for the country. We’ll discover exactly why in a later post.
Why in the world did you set a story in Zimbabwe?
In Fierce Wild, my first published short story, Salima Pavia fights poachers, stubborn rhinos, and an attraction to a ruthless mercenary to keep the black rhino sanctuary her parents founded a decade ago running smoothly. So, I had to go where the rhinoceros are. Them being a critically endangered species made that a list pitifully small.
Between 1970 and 1992, 96% of Africa’s remaining black rhinos were killed in a wave of poaching for their horns (WWF) and though their modest numbers have stabilized over the last decade the threat remains, due to Eastern cultures’ historical beliefs that the horns hold medicinal powers and religious meaning.
This gorgeous picture was provided by Derek Keats
Ending on a happy note…many African countries, Zimbabwe being one of the front runners in this effort, are investing land in the form of reserves and money for militia-like guards to protect the rhinoceros and by extension their rich heritage.