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People Are Outraged Over Louise Linton’s Account Of Her Zambian Gap Year

Fact or fiction?

Scottish actress Louise Linton has written a memoir called In Congo’s Shadow about her gap year in Zambia in the 90s where she describes her “living nightmare” after finding herself under attack by armed rebels.

The book is described as an “inspiring memoir of an intrepid teenager who abandoned her privileged life in Scotland to travel to Zambia as a gap year student where she found herself inadvertently caught up on the fringe of the Congolese War.”

The story, which some have described as being the perfect plot-line to a Hollywood blockbuster has been accused of being just that – completely fake.

Users took to Twitter to vent their outrage and question the validity of Linton’s story with the #LintonLies taking over social media.

The memoir, had flown under the radar until an excerpt published on The Telegraph, detailing how her “idyllic” life turned into a “living nightmare”.

“I witnessed random acts of violence, contracted malaria and had close encounters with lions, elephants, crocodiles and snakes,” Linton writes.

Then one day, without warning, armed rebels descended on our bay. Taken by surprise, I spent a night huddled with others in an old straw hut, hoping not to be found as we listened to the engines of the rebel boats drawing near. The next morning, I was faced with a dreadful dilemma. Should I stay and care for Zimba, risking my life?

Lydia Ngoma, who started the #LintonLies, has penned a piece for The Guardian, outlining what she believes is wrong with the memoir.

There are enough untrue, harmful stereotypes out there about Africa without her latest contribution, and I’m fed up of seeing Zambia and other African countries misrepresented in the press. Apparently, a lot of other Zambians agree with me.


She writes that the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was caused by the Hutu-Tutsi conflict. Wrong. The Hutu-Tutsi conflict happened in Rwanda – an entirely different country, and while the conflict over there did impact the DRC in many ways, it was not the primary cause of a serious struggle that has claimed the lives and homes of hundreds of thousands over the years. 


Linton references a little HIV-positive girl in the northern province called Zimba. This character is the only positive thing she highlights in her piece. However, it does not quite add up either. She mentions that the girl is from the Bemba community, but where Linton slips up is the name. Zimba, as any Zambian knows, is an eastern name. It is almost exclusive to the eastern province, and some parts of Malawi. But the Bemba tribe live in the north. It would be like finding a white, French person being called Xin Li in the 19th century – it just doesn’t happen.

Linton has since provided a statement expressing her “dismay” over how her story has offended people, according to BuzzFeed.

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 this book with the hope of conveying my deep humility, respect and appreciation for the people of Zambia and my sincere hope of making a positive impact there as an 18-year-old volunteer in 1999. I speak at length about the country’s incredible beauty and my immense gratitude for the friendships and experiences I had there. My aim has only ever been to honor Zambia and to share the experience I had there as a means of reminding people to care more deeply about the challenges people face in other regions.

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