‘In Congo’s Shadow’, a book written by the Scottish actress Louise Linton, is no longer for sale after multiple complaints and online backlash.
Reports have stated that the book, which was written about her experiences during a 1999 gap year, is patronising and offensive by falsely presenting the peaceful country as savage.
Linton is also being accused of promoting harmful stereotypes in a memoir that bears a striking resemblance to ‘white saviour’ novels such as Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’. Readers have also noted factual discrepancies in her 290 page account of Zambia.
In the memoir – billed as “one girl’s perilous journey in the heart of Africa” – she claimed to have feared for her life whilst hiding from armed Congolese rebels, who had supposedly crossed the border into the country.
The Edinburgh-born actress also claimed to have survived encounters with lions, crocodiles and foot-long spiders – and to have founded a school for orphans with HIV who described her as having “angel hair”.
Several outraged readers took to social media to join the increasingly popular hashtag #LintonLies, to express their fury.
One Twitter user, @jay_nyendwa wrote: “My step mother, just turned 60, is a “muzungu” who’s lived in Zambia from age 18 & has never heard of your rebels #LintonLies”.
Another Twitter user, @TwentyKwacha quoted the text in her tweet by saying: “The dense jungle canopy above me”? Zambia has savanna[h] grasslands, not dense jungle. But I guess “English girl experience”.
Linton wrote a statement published on The Scotsman saying: “I am deeply sorry to those whom I have offended.
“I was reflecting and remembering a personal experience as an idealistic teenager that changed my life many years ago.
“I now see how my characterisation of the country and its people have been interpreted as condescending and harmful and how such naive descriptions could indeed perpetuate negative stereotypes”.