A memoir written by actress/producer Louise Linton has come under fire for being full of fabricated tales, according to BuzzFeed.
The book, titled In Congo’s Shadow, tells the story of the privileged teenager from Scotland, who decided to visit Zambia during her gap year. In an excerpt recently published by the Telegraph, Linton claims her life was threatened several times by Congolese rebels.
“I had come to Africa with hopes of helping some of the world’s poorest people. But my gap year had become a living nightmare when I inadvertently found myself caught up in the fringes of the Congolese War,” reads part of the excerpt.
However, Linton’s story is full of prejudiced platitudes. The Guardian reports:
Despite being in Zambia, she writes about becoming a “central character” in the Congolese war of the late 1990s – terrified of what the rebels from across the border “would do to the ‘skinny white muzungu with long angel hair’”.
She goes on to rattle through the dictionary of “white saviour in Africa” cliches: from 12-inch long spiders, “brutal tales of rape and murder”, “close encounters with lions” and helping a “smiling gap-toothed child with HIV”.
Linton eventually took to Twitter to release a statement:
“I am genuinely dismayed and very sorry to see that I have offended people as this was the very opposite of my intent. I wrote with the hope of conveying my deep humility, respect and appreciation for the people of Zambia as an 18yr old in 1999. I wrote about the country’s incredible beauty and my immense gratitude for the experiences I had there. Sorry he was mistaken. It was 1999, 3 years prior to 2002 and I was never posted at Ndole. The angel hair is what the children said, not me.”
Despite the apology, the hashtag #LintonLies was born.