A dreamer and a lover, Emily longed for open spaces where she could drink in the wild vistas of Africa and capture them on film or canvas. Led by her adventurous heart to Zanzibar, it was there she first encountered Harry… Continue reading
The sisters were born almost two years apart, in a big house overlooking the Odzi River. Their family farm was in the main tobacco belt, 120 miles from Fort Salisbury, on the road to Bira – a small holiday town where the family went every year, usually just after the main tobacco sales.
It was striking how close the two sisters were, despite their differences. The lure of the bright lights appealed to Katy, while Emily found great comfort in the quietness of the family farm and its wildlife. Growing to love Africa’s wild beauty early on, Emily became an avid campaigner for its protection. She instinctively understood that there would be disastrous consequences if the plunder of Africa continued unabated.
Armed with her precious paints, brushes and a small easel, Emily would wander down to the Odzi River banks, where she would paint and sketch for hours, dreaming of the camera her father promised to order if the tobacco prices were good that year.
The whole family loved their monthly outings to Salisbury, all squeezing into the old Hilman, climbing over the Christmas pass and down into the growing city. Katy eagerly spied out the latest fashion trends and Emily would rush off to talk to old man Burgess. Almost reclusive, he was always happy to see her in his funny art shop at the bottom end of town.
It was partly because of Burgess that Emily, many years later, found herself in Stone Town. His wondrous stories of East Africa, its people, and the massive migrations of wildebeest and zebra drew her into the heart of Africa.
In Emily’s mind, Zanzibar would be just a place to rest for a few weeks and regroup. Perhaps she would set up a dark room to develop some of her pictures. After all, the family did have some distant relatives here. “How easy it is to get lost here,” she thought as she wandered the maze of alleyways in Stone Town.
It was then that she spotted him, the same man from the habour who’d insisted on helping with her bags. Quickening her pace and rounding the corner, she felt a tug on her precious camera bag. She turned and, tightening her grip, shouted at the thief, explaining that there was nothing of value to be had in her bag. Suddenly the man was there again. He grabbed the assailant, delivering a series of quick punches that knocked the thief to the ground before he scrambled away as fast as his legs would carry him.
Before she knew it, Emily found herself on the balcony of Emerson’s Hotel, a cold Tusker in hand, with Harry… lost in the blueness of his eyes.