Alex Crouch Global Connections Don t Let s Go to the Dogs Tonight Microtheme In Don t Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight

Alexandra Fuller outlined for us what it was like to grow up in Rhodesia, modern day Zimbabwe, as part of a white family originally from England. While Alexandra was not actually born in Rhodesia, she moved there at such a young age that all of her childhood memories were hatched in the heart of Africa. Because of her unique life circumstances, Alexandra was faced with correspondingly unique life difficulties. She found her identity by mashing together a variety of cultural norms and values. For instance, Alexandra was born to parents who were originally British, so she spoke the English language and was raised on traditional British values. Unfortunately, one of these British values was the superiority of whites. Her parents were clearly racist considering that they were actively engaged in fighting to keep minority white rule alive in the predominantly black Rhodesia. However, considering that she knew little to nothing about what life was actually like in England, Alexandra also heavily identified with African life. She knew nothing of the proper British politeness and niceties; she knew only the rough, hard life that she and her family faced everyday. Living in Africa was more about survival than anything else. This fact was reflected in the harsh African landscape and the attitudes of the locals, blacks and whites alike. Interestingly enough, although we would typically expect Alexandra to harbor hatred or contempt for her harsh African life, we find that she has an incredibly difficult time letting go of it because she so deeply connects that way of life with her personal identity.

Point out as many flaws as you like, you would be unable to convince Alexandra that Africa was not her home. In fact, we find that even after she has moved away to pursue education outside of the continent, she still longs for the unique flavor of African life. When I step off the plane in Lusaka and that sweet, raw-onion, wood-smoke, acrid smell of Africa rushes into my face I Want to weep for joy. The airport officials wave their guns at me, casually hostile, as we climb off the stale-breath, flooding-toilet-smelling plane into Africa s hot embrace, and I grin happily. I want to kiss the gun-swinging officials. I want to open my arms into the sweet familiarity of home. The incongruous, lawless, joyful, violent, upside-down, illogical certainty of Africa comes at me like a rolling rainstorm, until I am drenched with relief.