Zambezi. Journey of a river, by Mike Main
Mike Main introduces: The Zambezi challenged me, physically as well as mentally. Like arriving at the summit of a mountain, finishing this work evokes feelings not of victor and vanquished, but respect and therefore sadness at the parting. For the river has dominated my life for three years and after all the journey, the reading and the studying, I experience no sense of conquest, but instead, a feeling of awe.
Awe at how little I have learnt compared to how much more there is to learn. I leave the experience of the Zambezi humble, but elated, for it has also been a time of great excitement and achievement. I have a passion for learning about things that are of interest to me, I thrive on excitement and adventure and meeting interesting people. The Zambezi has given me all this in great abundance. Above all, I like sharing the knowledge and experiences with others and that, I hope, this book will do. Looking back over the events of the last few years, I realise that I have been fortunate and privileged to enjoy experiences that are beyond price and that, because they are now memories, can never be taken away. For example, how could I forget walking across the lip of Victoria Falls? Others have done it also. At the right time of year it is not particularly dangerous - but for me it was elemental, exciting and unforgettable. For obscure reasons, Livingstone is one of my own names and, although we are not related by blood, I cannot help identifying with the man. For this reason the visit to Livingstone Island was doubly momentous for me. So too was reaching the source. It had become a symbol of the whole project and for months afterwards, I did silly things like carrying round a few litres of water from the source. Small amounts were imposed upon chosen (and tolerant) friends! Feeling the electric atmosphere when the Litunga of the Lozi people struck the first beat of the royal drums; watching, heart in mouth, as my Jack Russell Gypsey raised her hackles at a huge bull elephant which, gentleman that it was, majestically gave ground to her diminutive form; kyaking through the wild white water of the upper river and riding rubber rafts through the maelstrom of the rapids below Victoria Falls - these are some of the Zambezi experiences that have led to the making of this book. The book is not, however, the diary of an incautious or reckless adventurer. To me it has been a way of communicating, of sharing with others, a small portion of what is exciting and fascinating about the river and its people. In the course of my research, I learnt much about the Mwene Mutapa empire, about strange two-toed people, trees that kill animals and send messages to one another, concubines in Sofala and cannibals in Mozambique. How could I possibly resist telling you of a tennis court with flowers painted upon it in the heart of a malaria-ridden mangrove swamp? Or fail to point out Livingstone's transformation from a missionary to an explorer and then follow the highlights of his journey across Africa? Nor could I ignore the tragedy for Livingstone of Cahora Bassa or resist the authenticated facts of silver mines of fabulous wealth. It would be criminal to know of, and not share with you, the story of the man who crossed Africa in a boat and talked his way out of difficulties with a bagful of glass eyes! Surely I would also be wrong to omit the facts about a frog-eating bat or turtles whose sex is determined by temperature? The Zambezi overflows with anecdotes and amusing, interesting stories. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I've enjoyed finding them.
This is an extract from the book: Zambezi. Journey of a river, by Michael Main
Subtitle: Journey of a river
Author: Michael Main
Southern Book Publishers
Halfaway House, 1998
ISBN 1868122573 / ISBN 1-86812-257-3
ISBN 9781868122578 / ISBN 978-1-86812-257-8
Hardcover, dustjacket, 17 x 25 cm, 313 pages, many colour photos and maps
Main, Mike im Namibiana-Buchangebot
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